Coast Guard outpost eyed off Cagayan to secure Philippine Rise

TUGUEGARAO CITY, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is planning to put an outpost of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the eastern coast of Cagayan province to protect the country's territory.

In an interview, Cagayan 3rd District Representative Randolph Ting said officials of the DOTr, during their 2018 budget hearing, had requested for a lot in Baguio Point in Peñablanca town where the outpost could be constructed.

Ting said the proposed project will be the PCG's main outpost for monitoring activities at Philippine Rise, which extends from Santa Ana town in Cagayan up to Aurora province.

He added that he already asked lawyer Gil Aromin, the regional director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Cagayan Valley, to identify a possible location.

"This is a priority so we will follow up with the DENR," Ting said.

"We will closely work on that because we would be happy to have an outpost there to safeguard Philippine Rise from alien invaders, especially the poachers," he added in a mix of Filipino and English.

Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise, is a 13-million-hectare undersea region rich in minerals and resources.

Oceana Philippines, a non-governmental organization that focuses on marine conservation and protection, said protecting Philippine Rise is key to food security in the country.

"What's amazing about Benham Bank is its coral coverage. The region offers huge potential for food resources and is different from the typical corals that we see," said marine scientist Marianne Pan-Saniano of Oceana Philippines. –