Security intensified over PH waters in light of martial law

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on June 5 ordered the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to intensify security over the country's waters.

Through Department Order (DO) No. 2017-008, the PCG was directed "to take over the security supervision of ports and shipping, whether public or private, including the egress and ingress to all waterways from the Maritime Industry Administration (Marina) and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA)."

The order is a response to the security scare springing from the continuing crisis in Marawi City which led to the declaration of martial law over the entire island region of Mindanao.

In line with its mandate under Republic Act 5173, the PCG will be controlling movement of all vessels in seaports and harbors and designating security zones around at least 1,600 ports of the country.

The PCG will also strictly enforce maritime security communications; supervise, regulate, and control port police and private security guards, K9 entities, divers and underwater operations in all maritime-related facilities and infrastructure.

In addition, it will enforce the ports and ships identification system and inspect cargoes to restrict travel of suspicious individuals and to prevent the transport of contraband.

The PCG may arrest, seize, or detain persons, cargo, and vessels found violating maritime security and other pertinent laws, and file the necessary charges. 

Over Mindanao waters, the PCG may set and enforce security measures within the bounds of the International Ships and Ports Security Code and the Philippine Constitution's provisions on martial law.

Only persons "judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with the invasion" are deprived of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus. (READ: Martial Law 101: Things you should know)

The order will be effective until July 22 when martial law hits its 60th day. If the President requests or if public safety calls for it, martial law may be extended by Congress.

Read the full order here:

D.O. No. 2017-008 Control and Supervision of Ports and Ships Security Operations by the PCG by Ram Talabong on Scribd 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.