SUBIC BAY FREEPORT - A ranking officer of the United States Coast Guard praised the port security plan being implemented by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and pier operators here, saying it is one of the best there is today.
US Coast Guard Lt. Commander Justin Moyer made the evaluation during a tabletop exercise and drill on SBMA's port security held Wednesday at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC).
The event, which gathered participants from the SBMA and Subic Freeport pier operators, as well as representatives from the Philippine Coast Guard and the maritime police, was organized by the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) of the Department of Transportation & Communications (DOTC), in collaboration with the US Coast Guard.
"We were surprised by how well everybody responded to scenarios," Moyer said after the exercises.
"We've travelled to a lot of countries and I can say this is unequivocally the best capacity-building exercise that we've seen," Moyer added.
Moyer also encouraged the participants to continue the training exercises and expand the umbrella port-wide plan.
He recommended the utilization of the APEC Manual of Maritime Security Drills as reference in enabling further inter-operability of the plan in response to issues, threats, and risks not only from a facility and port-wide perspective, but from a regional perspective as well.
SBMA Seaport manager Jerome Martinez said the exercises have proven the effectiveness and proficient inter-operability of Subic Bay's port-wide security plan, which is in compliance with the International Ships and Port Security (ISPS) code, requiring all international ports to develop and maintain security procedures.
The OTS-DOTC has recently issued anew a certificate of compliance to SBMA for its port security manual, detailing inter-operability security measures and controls in times of threats and other emergencies that may occur in any of the berths and wharves of the Freeport zone.
"Our lookouts are security threats that are prevalent such as smuggling of illegal goods, human trafficking, pilferage, and theft. Then again, we are also prepared for regional threats such as piracy and terrorism," Martinez said.
The US Coast Guard participated as a first-time facilitator of the exercises in the Philippines, together with the OTS-DOTC.
Participating in the tabletop port security drills were SBMA's first responders; namely its Seaport, Law Enforcement, Fire, and Public Health and Safety Departments.
On the other hand, SBF pier operators that joined the drills were Boton Pier operator Seaport Terminal, Inc. (STI); New Container Terminal (NCT) 1 and 2 operator Subic Bay International Container Terminal (SBICT); POL pier operator Coastal Petroleum; SRF operator Global Terminals and Development Inc.; Subic Bay Yacht Club; and Hanjin Heavy Industries Corporation (HHIC) Philippines. (30)
US Coast Guard Lt. Commander Justin Moyer shares his views on ports security during an exercise attended by various port users and locators, as well as SBMA security personnel and emergency responders to ensure port safety and security in the Subic Bay Freeport.