THE BRP-Malapascua, the newest addition to the fleet of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in southwestern part of Mindanao, will further boost the security arrangements that the City Government of Zamboanga has put in place.

Captain Ronie Gil Gavan, PCG Southwestern Mindanao District commander, assured the local government and the people of Zamboanga City that with the new vessel, "our focus is to deny lawless elements the opportunity to make Zamboanga City as a convenient place for them to conduct operations or their gateway to other areas."

Gavan added that the PCG has strengthened port security operations, intensified maritime security patrol operations, and conducted the security numbering system to better manage the threat in Zamboanga City and the adjoining areas.

The BRP-Malapascua was commissioned into the PCG on March 6, this year. It is manned by 25 crew including five officers.

The BRP-Malapascua is the second vessel the PCG has deployed in southwestern Mindanao district. The first was the BRP-Malabrigo.

Both vessels are part of the 10 units the Philippines acquired from Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

The BRP-Malapascua is equipped with the latest equipment and capabilities. It runs 27 knots.

The area of responsibility of PCG's southwestern Mindanao district included the areas under the Coastguard Stations in Zamboanga, Pagadian, Cotabato, Jolo, Mapun, and Bongao. (Bong Garcia/SunStar Philippines)