PCG intensifying info gathering to preempt future NPA attacks in Bicol

LEGAZPI CITY, Nov, 11 (PNA) -- The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Bicol has intensified its intelligence gathering by closely coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Philippine Army (PA), a PCG officer said on Wednesday.

The move is to prevent any possible future offensives of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who on Tuesday attacked a PCG detachment in Guijalo pier, in Caramoan town in Camarines Sur, Lt. Archie Hicban, PCG operations officer and spokesman said in a phone interview.

Hicban condemned the atrocity committed by the communist rebels, saying the PCG is a civilian agency whose mandate is to maintain maritime safety and security in all ports across the country.

He said his office has placed all PCG units in Bicol on heightened alert.

To avoid similar incident attacks in the future, the PCG Bicol command directed all its units to closely coordinate with the PNP and the PA for intelligence exchange, Hicban said.

“We have to strengthen and intensify our intelligence network by closely working with the police and the Army,” he said

The PCG officer said that during the NPA attack only one PCG member was manning their detachment as nine of its personnel were conducting water and search training at the Gota Beach in Caramoan town.

The rebels held Seaman Second Class Juan Miguel Rabago at gun point.

A sketchy police report said 34 NPA rebels swooped down on the PCG detachment in the Guijalo pier.

Police Senior Insp. Malu Calubaquib said the attack occurred at about 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The communist rebels seized an M16 rifle, a base radio with antenna and a cellphone.

They also fired at a PCG boat, damaging its 4-horse power engine.

Hicban said that in 2010, a similar attack on a PCG detachment by NPA rebels took place in Matnog Port in Sorsogon.

A coast guard died during the attack.

The PCG is the third armed service under the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and is involved in search and rescue during storms and other sea disasters.

It maintains security in all ports and conducts marine environmental protection.(PNA) CTB/FGS/MSA/CBD