TACLOBAN CITY — The Philippine National Police (PNP) regional office here will acquire a new patrol boat to conduct seaborne operations against illegal fishers and cocaine-carrying vessels in Eastern Samar areas facing the Pacific Ocean.
This is the first time that the PNP Maritime Group will have a high-speed patrol sea craft capable to fight illegal activities in Eastern Samar, PNP Eastern Visayas Regional Director Chief Supt. Gilberto Cruz told reporters on Wednesday.
Cruz pushed for the acquisition of the patrol boat because the maritime police in the region did not have floating assets, and have to rent motor boats when called to conduct seaborne operations.
The fiberglass boat dubbed “Pintados” will have its maiden voyage on June 5 in time for the World Environment Day. The boat with turbo engine can carry up to 50 law enforcers.
The official believes that foreign sea vessels carrying cocaine could pass the Eastern Samar portion of the Pacific Ocean as there are no seaborne operations in the area.
The Pacific Seas in Guiuan, Eastern Samar used to be the drop off point of smuggled products such as motorcycles and appliances since there are no sea patrol operations in the area, according to PNP.
“Cocaine traders found Eastern Samar as a safe route from Latin America to Hong Kong and mainland China,” Cruz said.
Over the past year, several cocaine bricks have been found in Eastern Samar. The biggest volume was in 2010 when authorities recovered nearly 300 bricks with an estimated value of P1.4 billion.
Some plastic blue drums with packs of cocaine inside were recovered by fishermen in Sorsogon and Quezon provinces this year.
“These cocaine are not intended for Philippines since we are not cocaine-using country,” Cruz added.
Meanwhile, the PNP’s floating assets will also run after illegal fishers in Eastern Samar. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) confirmed the destructive tuna catching in Eastern Samar’s Pacific Ocean High Seas
The use of unlawful fish aggregating devices contributes to indiscriminate fishing of tuna, including juveniles. There are also some big-time tuna catchers believed from General Santos City gaining access to the region’s high seas due to dwindling catch in the south. (PNA)