MANILA – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday welcomed US Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Karl Schultz, who assured of continued support for the PCG.
In a message, PCG spokesperson Capt. Armando Balilo said the discussions — led by PCG Commandant Admiral Elson Hermogino — with their American counterparts revolved on further support of the US on the training and development of the PCG and the exchange of expertise on law enforcement, especially on anti-drug and anti-terrorism activities.
He said joint patrols were not discussed during the meeting but the US remained consistent in their support to the freedom of navigation in contested waters.
“Wala napag-usapang joint patrol pero consistent ‘yung US sa pag-support sa freedom of navigation (There were no discussions on joint patrol but the US is consistent in their support to freedom of navigation),” Balilo said.
After the courtesy call at the PCG headquarters, Balilo said Schultz also went to the National Coast Watch Center to discuss current activities of the maritime agency with its director, Vice Admiral Joel Garcia.
Schultz arrived in Manila for a three-day visit to the country.
On Sunday, Schultz visited the Leyte Landing Memorial Park in Palo, Leyte to celebrate the 75th anniversary of US General Douglas MacArthur’s famous landing on Leyte beach.
He said the ceremony “offered not only an important moment of remembrance with the people of the Philippines, but it is also an opportunity to reflect on the enduring role of the U.S. Coast Guard in the Pacific.”
He was accompanied in the event by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and US Embassy Chargé d’Affaires John Law.
On Saturday, Schultz visited the USCG Cutter Stratton which is currently in Puerto Princesa City for the maritime drill “Sama Sama”.
In a Facebook post, Schultz said other participants during the maritime training activity included the Philippine Navy, US Navy, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
The USGC Cutter Stratton (WMSL 752), Schultz said, was deployed in the region since June to conduct maritime defense and security operations with the US Navy in support of the US Indo-Pacific Command and to “broaden partnerships throughout the region.” Raymond Carl Dela Cruz/PNA- northboundasia.com