Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Navy rescues 20 fishermen off Palawan

By; Bong Garcia Jr/Correspondent

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

ZAMBOANGA CITY—The Navy rescued 20 fishermen drifting off Palawan on Monday. Four others are still missing.

Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesman, said the fishermen were rescued at about 1 p.m. on Monday about 10 nautical miles off Sinamahan Reef, Palawan.

Arevalo said the fishermen, who are all from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu, were traveling to Sinamahan Reef aboard FB John Paul when their boat capsized after it was battered by big waves spawned by Tropical Storm Ondoy.

He said Navy personnel aboard ML Super Nashville who were at the time conducting routine maritime patrol immediately acted on reports of the incident and rescued the 20 fishermen 10 nautical miles off Sinamahan Reef.

Arevalo said the Navy tried to sustain the search-and-rescue operations but failed to find the other four owing to deteriorating weather condition.

Rescued were Armando Wagwag, 57, owner of the FB John Paul and boat master; Micheal Conversion, 40; Romulo Wagwag, 25; Gomercindo Tanyo, 24; Charlito Celiona, 51; Eric Macaraya, 37; Renato Degrano, 18; Roman Tanyo, 31; Raymund Duallo, 26; Reymundo Duallo, 50; Micheal Duallo, 30; Edgar Lambuon, 18; Saturnino Unok, 36; Rolando Amorin, 32; Diosephos Degrano, 20; Martin Segurino, 51; Isagani Flores, 36; Reymundo Balasi, 36; Juanito Paquhibot, 39; and Charlito Wagwag, 35.

Arevalo said the rescued fishermen were taken to Balabac town, where they were transferred to BRP Juan Magluyan (PG-392) and transported to Puerto Princesa City for medical treatment.

Arevalo said the Naval Forces West commander, Commo. Orwen Cortez, has dispatched all available assets to conduct search and rescue for the remaining four missing fishermen.

Still missing are Romulo Manahay, 31; Roque Legaspi, 32; Federico Amit Jr., 28; and German Gonzales, 30.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Navy brings life to Batanes

The Philippine STAR Wednesday, 23 September 2009

By: Jack CastaƱo

BASCO, Batanes - Life in this northernmost province of
the country is returning to normalcy, following the arrival of
a Philippine Navy mine sweeper frigate on Sunday to
deliver emergency fuel to run the National Power Corp. generators.

The islanders have been without electric fuel since
Sept. 4. To solve the problem, the Napocor initially reduced
its operating hours to 16, from 12 midnight to 8 a.m. for the
whole Batan island.

In the island-municipalities of Sabtang and Itbayat,
power was reduced to 12 hours.

On Sept. 13, electric power was further reduced to 12
hours in the mainland and six hours in Sabtang and Itbayat.

In as much as the Napocor could not get a ship large
enough to bring a year's supply of diesel fuel, the mission
was given to the Philippine Navy.

However, for lack of a logistics ship, the Navy had to pullout
Barko ng Republika ng Pilipinas Quezon (PS70) from the
operation area in Southern Philippines to bring immediately

Early Sunday morning PS70, under the command of
one Commodore Quines, steamed to port with 60,000 liters
of Napocor fuel. The fuel is expected to last for at least
24 days at the reduced operating hours of 16 hours a day.

In a speech Monday afternoon in Mahatao town, where
the Navy conducted a medical-dental-civic program, Naval
Forces Northern Philippines Chief, Commodore Jose
Alano said, their quick response was the result of the
coordination of three offices.

"Gov. Telesforo Castillejos has a standing invitation to the
Navy to conduct maritime patrol in the sea frontier of the
province and to conduct civil military operations," Alano
told his audience.

"The governor's request was delayed because of the operational
commitments of the Navy vessels in Mindanao,"
he said.

"When Rep. Carlo Diasnes' request came last week, Admiral
Ferdinand Golez, Navy chief, immediately informed
me to get ready for the joint mission in response to the requests
of Gov. Castillejos, Rep. Diasnes and that of our unit,"
Alano said.

The Civil-military group of the NFNL attended to at least
120 medical and dental patients and painted the home
economics building of the Mahatao Elementary School.

The Naval personnel also distributed 220 liters of regular
gasoline to local residents who own a motor vehicle.

Moreover, the MV Transend, a 700 ton-commercial ship
docked Monday afternoon at the Basco pier to unload much
needed supplies.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Navy, PAF: Gallantry amid disaster

Manila Bulletin, Sunday, 13 September 2009

By: Dexter A See

The Armed Forces' naval and air force assets and personnel once again
proved their genuine humanism as they displayed amazing gallantry amid
disaster when they braved the perilous seas to save lives following the sinking
of SuperFerry 9 off Sibuco Bay in Zamboanga del Norte and M/V Hera
in Eastern Samar.

Responding to a distress call, the men and women of the Navy and
the Philippine Air Force (PAF) faced danger and demonstrated the true
meaning of soldiery as they worked day and night, scouring the seas in search
of survivors.

This selfless act of the military only attests to what President Arroyo once
said when she gave recognition to the bravery of soldiers, that "the uniform
is not only a symbol of vigilance but a symbol of caring and sharing in a world
of calamity and strife."


OnThursday, the Navy bestowed the "Distinguished Navy Cross" award to
Gunnersmate 3rd Class Anifer Bucao and Fireman 1st Class Aviation Mechanic
Oliver Cogo, for distinguished heroism while serving as sea marshals
onboard the ill-fated SuperFerry 9.

Cogo, 33, was reportedly the last person to jump off the sinking ship.
Disregarding his own safety, Cogo did not leave the ship until he was sure
there was no one else left on board the vessel.

Based on his narration, among those he was able to help safely disembark
were 15 children, the last of whom was a special child whom he recalled
was even punching him then. Cogo and Bucao, 35,were presented to the media
by Navy Flag Officer-in-Command, Vice Admiral Ferdinand Golez, who
pinned their medals.

An order signed by Rear Admiral Feliciano Angue, Chief of Naval Staff,
stated, "Upon hearing the ship master's command to abandon ship, Bucao
and Cogo disregarded personal safety and voluntarily remained on board to
provide aid and comfort to disoriented passengers."

Throughout the incident, Bucao and Cogo demonstrated remarkable gallantry
and sound judgment by giving clear "abandon ship" instructions to
passengers and personally led them to disembarkation stations.

Bucao and Cogo helped distribute lifejackets while trying to calm down
the passengers by telling them that rescue is on its way. Bucao admitted
fearing for his own life but still managed to maintain presence of mind.
He said he decided to jump off the sinking vessel only after making sure
that there was no one else left in his sector.

Cogo said, "Nagpapasalamat ako sa Panginoon dahil binigyan niya ako ng
lakas ng loob," he narrated.
"Nakita ko nakahawak na ang mga tao sa railings, ang mga bata nag-iiyakan
na so as a sea marshal I checked the lifejackets of all passengers. There
were almost 300 passengers on my side."

The abandon ship order was announced by the captain at about 3:35
a.m. but it was already around 8:00 a.m. when Cogo jumped off the ship.
As he jumped into the sea, Cogo said he noticed a man having difficulty with
his lifejacket so he decided to throw his lifejacket to the man, thinking that he
can handle the situation better than the civilian because of his training.
Without any lifesupport, Cogoswam as fast as he could, away from the sinking
SuperFerry 9 until he reached one of the navy vessels that responded to the
distress call.

Navy spokesman Lt. Col. Edgard Arevalo said Naval Forces Western
Mindanao Commander Rear Admiral Alexander Pama dispatched as early as
4:40a.m. on that fateful day two Patrol Gunboats - PG 116 under Commander
Carlos Sabarre and PG117 under LCdr Teofilo Pulmano - to respond to a distress
call from the SuperFerry 9.

Navy personnel rescued a total of 444 survivors, including the Captain of
the ship, and recovered four out of the ten fatalities during the entire rescue
and recovery operations.


With the advent of modernization, the very war machines that used to
conquer territories and punish the belligerent were given new tasks - to
save lives.

This was proven anew by the Philippine Air Force in the typhoon-swept
seas of Eastern Samar where the treacherous waters of the Pacific
Ocean and the Eastern Philippine Sea battered a Panamanian registered cargo
vessel, M/V Hera, manned by four Korean nationals and 15 Filipinos.

The vessel sunk off the coast of Eastern Samar around 6 p.m. on the
same day that tragedy hit the SuperFerry 9.

Two hours past midnight following the sinking, Lt. Col Romeo Jerome
Dirilo Jr., the deputy commander of Philippine Air Force Tactical Operations
Group based in Tacloban City, was informed by the commander of
AFP Central Command based in Cebu to prepare for an early morning search
and rescue operation.

At 5:40 a.m. the PAF's 2nd Air Division based in Mactan sent two UH-IH
- the trusted workhorse of most armies all over the world - with a rescue team
from the 505th Search and Rescue Group on board, to the headquarters
of the Philippine Army's 14th Infantry Battalion in Oras, Eastern Samar,
which was the military's nearest outpost in the scene of the sinking.

Hueys number 516 and 514,piloted by Captain Arvin Zara and Captain
Almer Augustine Irineo, respectively, were joined by UH-IH number 225
and 276 piloted by Captain Cherrylane Laforteza and Captain Celito Balico,

The gutsy lady pilot and her wingman, who were based in Tacloban,
took off at exactly 6:27 a.m. amidst inclement weather. They were initially
set to conduct resupply mission that day to support ground troopers of the
Army's 803rd Infantry Brigade but were instead directed to support the
search and rescue operation.

It was a case of what to prioritize for the Tacloban based helicopters - to
save lives or to deliver the supplies of the troops. At the 14IB base, they were
informed that the 19 survivors of M/V Hera were already onboard a lifeboat
and are being towed by a responding fishing vessel towards Oras, Eastern
Samar. With the seafarers now in safe hands, the lady pilot and her wingman
proceeded to the 803rd Infantry Brigade in Catarman. A few minutes later,
her Cebu compatriots arrived.

Soon after delivering the goods, the Tacloban-based Hueys returned
to Oras to join the Cebu contingent in airlifting the survivors to Cebu upon
the request of the owners of the sunken vessel.

Twelve hours of flight amidst inclement weather and 10 sorties that
rescued 4 Korean and 15 Filipino seafarers were performed without
any untoward incident - a testament to the readiness of Air Force units in
performing life-sensitive missions that has become their way of life.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Navy cites two sea marshals for saving lives

Malaya, Friday, 11 September 2009

By: Victor Reyes

Two Navy personnel who were among four sea marshals in the Super-
Ferry 9 which sank Sunday off Siocon town in Zamboanga del Norte were
recognized yesterday by the Navy for acting "beyond the call of duty."

Gunnersmate Third Class Anifer Bucao and Fireman First Class
Aviation Mechanic Oliver Cogo received the Distinguished Navy Cross
from Navy chief Yice Adm. Ferdinand Golez at the Navy headquarters.

The Distinguished Navy Cross is the third highest decoration for
Navv personnel, after the Distinguished Conduct Star and the highest,
the Medal of Valor. It is the counterpart of the Gold Cross medal
which is awarded to soldiers engaged in combat.

"They helped a great number of passengers, rescued them and without
their efforts I'm sure, there could have been more casualties," said
Golez in citing the two personnel.

Authorities have been deploying sea marshals in commercial vessels
since the February 2004 sinking of the Super Ferry 14 off Manila Bay after
it caught fire. Investigations showed an explosive device planted by the
Abu Sayyaf caused the sinking. The attack left at least 120 people dead.

The marshals are tasked mainly to secure the vessels and thwart
possible terror attacks.

Aside from Bucao and Cogo, the two other marshals were from the
PNP and Coast Guard.

The SuperFerry 9, which was carrying at 969 passengers and crew,
listed for hours before it sank. Ten passengers died.

Bucao, who was positioned at the sun deck, said the passengers panicked
when the ship listed and the captain issued an order to abandon
ship around 3 a.m.

He said the vessel sank around 9 a.m. after all the passengers and
crew had disembarked.

He said many of the passengers were in panic and crying. "We tried
to calm them by informing them that rescuers are coming," he said.
A male passenger some distance away from him jumped off the ship,
he said. The man's head hit the ship's hull, resulting in his death.

He said he abandoned ship after seeing his area clear of passengers.

"I jumped because the ship is already in danger. It's no longer advisable
to stay there," he said.

Bucao said he did not hear any explosion or fire that occurred prior
to the listing, down playing possibility that it could have been caused
by a terrorist attack.

Initial reports indicated a hole in the hull caused the sinking. There
were also reports that the generator set of the vessel went on and off
before the vessel listed.

Cogo said he was stationed at the middle part of the ship, particularly
the billeting area. He said the passengers gathered at the portside or
left side of the ship as it listed starboard side or the right side.

He said while he was checking if the passengers were already wearing
life vests, he was telling them not to give up.

"I told them we'll be staying together and I won't leave them," he
said. Cogo said the since it was not possible to jump from the portside,
he taught the passengers how to slide starboard where a Navy ship was
already waiting to rescue them. The ship had listed about 50 degrees
from the initial 35 degrees.

Cogo also said he fetched at least 15 children from the portside and
brought them to the right side of the vessel.

The last child he fetched, Cogo said, was a special child who punched
him. He said three crewmembers and a Canadian helped him.

Cogo also said he gave his life vest to one passenger he saw having
trouble with his life vest.

Cogo said after the passengers had disemharked, Cogo said he double
checked the cabins to make sure there were no passengers left.

When it was already clear, he said he and his companions also left
the ship. He said they used a firehouse to rappel from the portside
because the vessel had already listed 90 degree,. Cogo said he was the
last to abandon ship.

The passengers were later picked up by ships fWI11 the Navy, Coast
Guard and other vessels that responded to the distress call.

2 sea marshals cited for SuperFerry rescue

Philippine Daily Inquirer, Friday, 11 September 2009

By:Jocelyn R Uy

Navy (PN) received one of the highest
awards the command can bestow for "gallantry"
and "sound judgment" during the
rescue of passengers of SuperFerry 9 which
sank over the weekend.

Gunnersmate 3rd dass Anifer Bucao and
Fireman 1st Class Aviation Mechanic Oliver Cogo
yesterday received the Distinguished Navy Cross
in rites at PN headquarters in Manila.

As a counterterrorism measure, the Navy
started deploying sea marshals on interisland
passenger and cargo ships following
the bombing of SuperFerry 14 in 2004.

The Navy credited its swift response to the
tragedy to an early morning "Alay Lakad"
walk the Armed Forces of the Philippines
had scheduled before dawn on Sunday.

Navy chief Vice Adm. Ferdinand Golez
said most of his force was up by 3 a.m.

"It was good fortune that we had a very early
morning activity that day...we got word immediately
and relayed instructions to operating
forces in that part of the country,so the rescue
happened in the quickest possible time," Golez
told reporters at the rites.

Twelve people died in the panic and
scramble for exits as SuperFerry 9 listed to
its starboard side off Sibuco Point in Zamboanga
del Norte, at about the same time
that naval personnel were waking up in
Metro Manila.

More than 900 people were saved and
everyone has been accounted for, including
the 12 fatalities.

Bucao said he got scared when passengers
started panicking and jumping from
the ship.

"I was also afraid, of course. But I made
sure to keep my presence of mind," he said.

Cogo said calming down and assuring
the passengers that rescuers were on the
way helped them exit the ship in an orderly

He said he tied rope to the port side railing
for people to hold onto as they slid on
the deck down to the starboard side.

When he saw a man struggling in the sea
with a life vest, he threw him his own vest
and ring, Cogo said.

Cogo and Bucao were among the last to
abandon ship as they went through the vessel
one last time to make sure no one had
been left behind.

"They disregarded personal safety and
voluntarily remained on board to provide
aid and comfort to disoriented passengers,"
Acting Naval Adjutant Commander Gerardo
Ebro read from the commendation.

Ebro said they demonstrated "remarkable
gallantry" and "sound judgment" by
giving passengers clear instructions on how
to safely abandon the ship and personally
led them to the exits.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Navy public affairs takes a big shift

The Philippine Star Tuesday, 01 Sep 09

The Philippine Navy convened its
first Public Affairs symposium on Aug.
26,2009 at the First Villa Cristina Hotel
in Antipolo City. The Fleet Marine
Ready Force Commander, Capt. Miguel Jose Rodriguez
Philippine Navy, graced the opening ceremony
as guest of honor.

The activity was organized by the
Naval Public Affairs Office headed by
LCol Edgard Arevalo Philippine Navy
(Marines). The spokesperson of the
Philippine Navy believes that bringing
together all public affairs officers from
the different line units of the Navy will
synchronize the overall plan for effective
public information and community

Specifically, the activity aims to enhance
the writing, verbal communication,
TV and radio appearances and
guestings and crisis management skills
among the participants. In between the
lectures, a series of team-building activities,
fun games and brainstormingwere injected
to build rapport and camaraderie
among the participants.

In recent events, it was found out
that the military public information
process has to be improved in order
that the flow of accurate information
from first-hand sources, particularly
from the lowest level of the hierarchy,
should reach the media recipient on

The first lecture was given by Charie
Villa, the news gathering head of the
ANC Channel, focusing on effective
public relations writing for broadcast
media. Villa shared tips on prepaTing
for TV and radio appearances; avoiding
off-the record statements and managing
ambush interviews and hypothetical

The second day highlighted print
media with Marichu Villanueva, editor/columnist
of the Philippine STAR,as the guest lecturer.
She discussed the basics of press release
writings that will help the participants make
effective press releases.

Several media personalities and resource
persons were also invited to discuss
combat photography and radio
guestings for the remaining topics before
the three-day symposium in-house
activity culminated on Aug. 28, 2009
with the Flag Officer In Command of
the Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Ferdinand
Golez AFP,as the guest of honor
and keynote speaker.