By: Gail T. Momblan
THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Western Visayas will closely work with the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prevent the entry of illegal drugs and other contrabands this Dinagyang season.
Lt. Commander Ramil Palabrica, PCG-6 spokesperson, said drug-sniffing and bomb-sniffing dogs will be deployed in ports to conduct random inspections.
“From time to time, indi man 24 hours kundi random to see to it nga wala makasulod nga illegal drugs and explosives,” he said.
Alex M. Tablate, officer-in-charge of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency-6, said the influx of tourists during the Dinagyang festival will attract illegal drug traders.
Thus, Tablate said it is paramount to secure the seaports and airports, which serve gateways for illegal drugs.
Lt. Commander Rodolfo dela Peña, PCG Iloilo Commander, said 130 personnel will be deployed to Dumangas port, Lapuz Wharf, Ortiz Wharf, and Guimaras Iloilo Ferry Terminal.
The deployment will start on January 20 for the PCG anticipates the flood of passengers by January 24 to 27, and even until Feb 1, dela Peña said.
Aside from curbing the entry of illegal substances during the Dinagyang season, the PCG will also deploy personnel to assure the safety of devotees.
Lt. Commander Ramil Palabrica, spokesperson of PCG-6, said that marshals will be assigned at the Muelle Loney Street.
“Lalo na ngayon ang ating grandstand nariyan sa Muelle Loney basi may mahulog (na devotees),” he said.
The Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation Inc (IDFI) already announced that the tickets for the Freedom Grandstand were sold out as of Dec 28, 2018.
The PCG will also coordinate with the Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary (PCGA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) to provide assistance to passengers.