Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Philippine Coastguard Auxiliary

Thanks to the acquisition of my Sail-yacht in the year 2000 I was invited to the PCGA

People may wonder what all those Uniform photos of me and others mean.

PCGA stands for Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary and is an Organization to assist and support the "Organic" or professional Philippine Coast Guard.(PCG)
It is a volunteer Organization under the Supervision and actually mandated in the 'Coast Guard law" to be formed by the PCG ( R.A. 9993,Sec.11)
The official directive is this :
The mission of the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary is to assist the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the promotion of safety of life and property at sea. The preservation of the marine environment and its resources, the conduct of maritime search and rescue, the maintenance of aids to navigation and such other activities that enhance maritime community relations which include civic action, participation under the National Service Training Program, youth development, recreational safety and other related activities.

Therefore People with private Yachts are often "deputized"and approached by the large volunteer member ship to "join".
This has also happened to me. In my case it was Rear Admiral ( then Captain) Bobby Inoferio, who was also in the Cebu Chapter at the Knights of Rizal who suggested to join them.
Why not? Helping People in Distress at Sea is anyway a moral obligation and Law Nbr.1 at sea, so why not expand this to more activities.

I am glad that I joined them. A fantastic companionship and a fine selection of Ladies and Gentleman of all walks of Life.
Cleaning up after Typhoon Pablo Dec 2012, Dumaguete
Yes, the past 12 years we (in Cebu) have not been challenged by a major disaster,and hopefully this stay that way ( as in Dec.2012 with Super Typhoon "Bopha aka.Pablo) which simply passed without any damage to Cebu.

So people here may not be aware by our presence, but in many other places of this beautiful, but disaster battered nation the PCGA is very much known and needed.
One can see them in TV, wearing their Orange Polos/Sweatshirts in the rubber boats helping Residents in flooded areas, or searching in mudslide areas for survivors.
Rescue Marschal Fluvial Parade.
Sometimes they rescue some people in distress with their fast private yachts, being nearby a Sea Mishap, but often the volunteers are anonymous.

Surgical Mission Asturias
They then help out a bit among the poorer and less fortunate in the Philippine Populations and coordinate/finance Medical and surgical Missions.
But of course also the environment is a main field of volunteer work. Uncountable mangroves and Trees have been planted and adaopted.
Carrying Mangrove seedling to the coast

As well as many school and students 'educated" in the environment.
Coastal Clean Ups are more Past time then really effective, but this was the same in Germany in the seventies, until the lawmakers and Population became "responsive" to the cleaning efforts of the Volunteer groups.
More effective are the regular Underwater Clean-ups,when Divers fish out the debris of steel and other hazards underwater.
The field of activities is countless and not just limited to the coast.

And the uniforms? Well, it took me a while to get used to Uniforms again, it is not worn very often anyway. But I see the reason for it.Ina real disaster People would most probably NOT listen to someone coming along waving some ID, but a Uniform they would.
However, as said, let us hope we will never be needed.
And if..our slogan is "
"We risk our lifes to save your life"...
and we have swoar an oath to do just that.  Lets hope and pray you will never need us.

Thank You
(Commander PCGA ) Guenther Vomberg

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