On March 29 and 30, the U.S. Embassy in the Philippines’ Office of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) donated two fiberglass boats and various materials to universities and local government units in Pangasinan and La Union to help in their patrol of their municipal waters and to better protect their resources.
INL donated two 30-foot patrol boats to the provincial governments of Pangasinan and La Union; 19- and 30-foot boat blueprints and boat molds to Pangasinan State University (PSU) and Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU); and one prototype boat to the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources-Fishery Protection and Law Enforcement Group.
The donation coincided with the conclusion of a month-long INL-sponsored theoretical and technical training attended by 59 architecture and engineering students of PSU and DMMMSU as well as provincial law enforcers. The courses were designed to provide them with the technical skills to build patrol boats made of plastic-reinforced fiberglass. This promotes the use of environment-friendly and sustainable materials and saves wood—a depleting natural resource typically used in boat building.
“Today culminates the theoretical and technical training that provided participants with technical skills capacity and promoted the use of environment-friendly, sustainable, and durable materials for boat building that the local government and communities can use to protect municipal waters, secure and sustain marine resources, conduct search and rescue, provide transportation, and support tourism,” said INL Director Kelia Cummins.
The training is part of INL’s Php41.5-million ($800,000), three-year, Environmental Justice Sector Reform Program—implemented by the U.S. Department of the Interior-International Technical Assistance Program and local nongovernment organization Tanggol Kalikasan—that builds local capacity on the administration of environmental governance and conduct of law enforcement, with a special focus on countering illegal wildlife trade and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing for various stakeholders from coastal municipalities facing the South China Sea.
In accepting the donation on behalf of Governor Francisco Ortega, La Union Provincial Administrator Agnes Cargamento said that “[this] will be stationed at the marine protected area of the province and we will replicate the same training that will benefit our second district.”
Globally, INL works with partner nations to build capacity to combat transnational crime, including environmental crime, and helps the global community turn shared international norms into concrete action toward reform and justice.|-BNN