RP to train Somali coast guard

September 1, 2009 10:29 am 

MANILA, Sept. 1 — Economic and cultural relations between the Republic of the Philippines and Somalia may soon include naval and civil service training after leaders of the two nations discussed the possibility of undertaking these types of “institution building” measures to address the occurrence of pirate attacks off the coast of the African nation.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo told members of the Filipino Community in Libya that she had met with Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed at the sidelines of the African Union’s Special Summit on the Settlement of Conflicts in Africa to discuss ways to once and for all rid the region of pirates.

In a pre-departure statement before boarding a chartered flight bound for Tripoli, Libya Monday, the President cited the importance of maintaining peace and stability in Africa, saying this has a direct impact “on our energy security, but more importantly, on the safety and welfare of our overseas Filipinos, including our seafarers.”

According to the President, the occurrence of pirate attacks, specifically off the coast of Somalia at the end of the East African monsoon, has been a source of concern. She expressed confidence, however, that “this is an issue where Africa’s collective efforts to bring stability and order to the affected areas will be crucial.”

“Kanina, nakipag-usap ako sa Pangulo ng Somalia na abala din sa mga teroristang gingugulo ang mga barkong dumadaan sa Suez Canal," (Earlier, I talked to the President of Somalia who was also busy with the terrorists attacking ships that pass through the Suez Canal), the President said.

“Isa sa paraan kung papaano sagutin ang problema (of pirate attacks) ay institution-building –- halimbawa, palakasin ang kanilang civil service at coast guard,” (One of the solutions to solve the problem of pirate attacks is institution-building. An example of this is to strengthen the civil service and the coast guards), she added.

“Dahil mahalaga ito sa ating mga seafarer, pinag-usapan namin kanina na tutulong ang Pilipinas sa pag-train sa kanila,” (Since this is very vital among our seafarers, we discussed earlier that the Philippines will help in giving them training), the President said. (PNA)

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