THE Interagency Maritime Security Task Unit, which has been mandated to secure the venue and delegates of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, will deploy more than 400 personnel and floating assets.

Commodore Enrico Evangelista, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) 7, will head the unit.

Evangelista said the security group is composed of units and personnel from the PCG 7, Naval Forces Central (Navforcen), PNP-Maritime Group, Cebu Port Authority (CPA), Maritime Industry Authority (Marina), PCG Auxiliary and the Federation of Volunteers through Radio Communication (FVRC) Inc. to address maritime security matters related to the summit in Cebu.

Evangelista said the group will employ and deploy more than 600 personnel from Aug. 19 to Sept. 14.

He said the PCG 7 alone will deploy and employ more than 400 personnel, five CG vessels and more than 20 small boats.

Restricted access

“These will be further strengthened by vessels, small craft and several fast boats from the Philippine Navy, PNP-Maritime Group and CPA. Volunteers, personnel, assets and equipment from PCGA and FVRC will support the operations,” Evangelista said.

He said they will implement a “no sail” zone off the beach at the Shangri-La’s Mactan and Resort Spa, one of the summit venues.

“There are other sea areas, which will be restricted and will be on tight security watch. Unauthorized vessels will not be allowed to pass through or enter those areas,” Evangelista said.

He said CG K9 (working dogs) will also be deployed to sniff for bombs and other threats.

Commander Weniel Azcuna of PCG said that while they will focus on the security at Shangri-La, they will also deploy personnel and vessels to areas of possible entry and exit of criminals and terrorists.

Senior Supt. Marvin de Paz of PNP-Maritime 7 said they will deploy all their assets to secure port terminals.

“We are on covert security operation. Our main task is to monitor lawless elements,” he said.

Azcuna said that based on their workshops on security, the possible threats during the summit are sea mishaps, rallies at sea, terrorist attacks and bad weather condition.

“While we will exercise maximum tolerance on people who will conduct rallies at the sea, we will prevent them from going near to the Apec summit venue,” he said.

Marine Specialist Jess Quino of Marina 7 said Director Nanette Villamor-Dinopol said they have already submitted to the task unit the list of registered motor bancas that will be accredited by the Department of Tourism.

Azcuna said only accredited motor bancas can be hired by Apec delegates if they want to go island hopping.

Lt. Ernie Nasayao of Navforcen said the media can play a vital role in securing the summit venues.

CPA Police Chief Insp. Felix Quiamson, for his part, said departing vessel passengers must be at the departure area on time to avoid terminal overcrowding.