By Mar S. Arguelles
LEGAZPI CITY --- A Bicol Integrated Port and Maritime Security (BIPMS) task group was formally organized on Monday through the initiative of the Regional Peace and Order Council, a ranking RPOC official said.
The BIPMS task group was created following the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) at Camp Gen. Simeon Ola here, according to Legazpi Mayor Noel Rosal, the RPOC chairperson.
The BIPMS was organized following the bombing incidents launched by suspected members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Masbate port recently.
Rosal in an interview said this is a security measure to prevent “terrorist” attacks on vital government installations, particularly the seaports, ferry terminals, airports and other transport terminals in the region.
The MOA was signed by regional directors of various line agencies which include : the departments of Transportation (DOTR, PPA, CAAP, LTO, LTFRB, MARINA), Interior and Local Government (DILG), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP, PA, PN,AF, Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the National Intelligence Coordination Agency.
Rosal said the Task group would intensify security in ferry terminals where people and sea vessels are prone to threat and are highly vulnerable to attacks and other lawless atrocities.
He said major ports in Bicol are considered as inter-island gateway to and from the region from the Visayas and Mindanao regions.
The major ports considered as a gateway of the Visayas and Mindanao regions are the ports in Masbate, Matnog, Bulan, all in Sorsogon, and in Legazpi, Tabaco, and Pio Duran in Albay.
Under the agreement, there is a need to implement stringent security in every seaport, ferry terminals in Bicol.
Rosal claims that in protecting the public from the danger of possible terrorist attack in major ports it requires integrated human and logistical resources from the involved agencies.
The BIPMS aims to bring a high level of security for the passengers, port facilities, vessels and properties with the port premises, Rosal said.
The PPA will lead the inter-agency committee on security where member agency would monitor activities and report situation that would require security preparation and activation.