BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Negrenses will have a glimpse of BRP Gabriela Silang, the largest and most modern Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) of the Philippine Coast Guard, and BRP Cape Engaño, at the Bredco Port in Bacolod City today.
Delivered to the PCG on Dec. 18, 2019, the BRP Gabriela Silang currently holds the title for the longest aluminum hull-OPV in the world, and is equipped with a helipad, a recompression chamber, and can accommodate 500 people on board.
The BRP Cape Engaño was commissioned by the Philippine Coast Guard on August 23, 2018, and is a law enforcement vessel, together with BRP Gabriela Silang. They are also designed to conduct environmental and humanitarian missions, as well as maritime security operations and patrol missions.
BRP Cape Engaño was also designed with a bulletproof navigation bridge, equipped with fire monitors, night vision capability, a work boat, and a radio direction finder capability, that enhances the ship’s reconnaissance, pursuit and communications capabilities.
The Coast Guard District Southern Visayas, led by Capt. Eduardo De Luna, said the two Coast Guard ships will be opened to the public during an open-house tour, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
De Luna said they will strictly enforce the protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force, and minors 15 years old and below, and elderly people 65 years old and above are not allowed to board the vessels.
Visitors are also required to wear face masks and face shields while in the premises of the vessels, and must adhere to physical distancing.
Before boarding the vessels, visitors will receive a briefing in order to inform them about the protocols of the respective ships during the tour.
De Luna said the open-house tour is part of the celebration of PCG District Southern Visayas 3rd founding anniversary, with PCG commandant, Admiral George Villareal Ursabia Jr., as the guest of honor and speaker.
NEW AIRCRAFT, TOO
The PCG will also showcase its brand new Airbus H145 utility helicopter that will be at the flight deck of BRP Gabriela Silang.
The signing of a memorandum of agreement and deed of donation for the opening of the PCG Air Station in Hinoba-an will also be held between the Coast Guard and Mayor Ernesto Estrao, at the Bredco port. Another MOA will be signed between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, to be represented by Bacolod CENRO Joan Nathaniel Gerangaya, and Coast Guard. A ceremonial oath-taking of PCG Auxiliary Southern District officers and members, as well as a presentation the CGDSV rescue swimmers and Baywatch will be held.*