Aussie grants funding to Cebu port to hold counter terrorism

CEBU City––Dubbed as the second busiest port in the country and the traffic point between Luzon and Mindanao, the Cebu port has been chosen as the recipient of a grant by the Australian government to conduct a “Port Level Joint Security Exercise” aimed at strengthening port security measures and enhancing readiness to respond to terror attacks.

Don Anderson, project director of the Australian-Philippine Ports Project, said the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) was chosen among all the ports throughout the country because of its strategic location and importance to the Strong Republic Nautical Highway of the country as well as the presence of the international port within the area catering to foreign vessels.

Anderson also said their previous working relations with the CPA that have proved favorable and the good relations they have maintained also sealed the decision to grant a funding for the joint security exercise.

The joint security exercise is the first of its kind that is being funded by the Australian government.

A grant of AUS $4.57 million has been granted by the Australian Government to help strengthen its seaports especially in the areas of logistics, communications and security.

The amount is part of the AUS $10 million grant the country received from Australia for the regional counter-terrorism program to which the Philippines is a party.

Ret. Rear Admiral Ed Israel of the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) claimed all ports in the country are required to have their own security plan while there are 471 ports in the country.

The exercise tomorrow will validate the effectiveness of the CPA’s security measures to thwart acts of terrorism, according to Israel.

Israel said the assistance given by the Australian government will help strengthen the preparedness in our ports to respond to terrorist attacks like bomb explosions and seaborne attacks.

The exercise tomorrow and similar activities that enhance capability building in responding to crisis situations like acts of terror will result to higher security level of awareness, Israel declared.

“In fact, our country is way ahead than our Asian neighbors in anti-terrorism preparedness,” Israel stressed.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith and Transportation and Communications Secretary Leandro Mendoza will witness tomorrow’s simulation exercise that will highlight how participating law enforcement agencies respond to terror attacks. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

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