Amid impending hostilities in the Middle East, mainly due to the US-Iran tension, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) — among others in the security sector — has been tasked to help in the evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos in the region, should the need arise.
ALSO READ: Public Advisory for Filipinos in the Middle East
In relation to this, an 83.6-metre Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) is ready to repatriate overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in the Middle East. It is aptly named “BRP Gabriela Silang.”
BRP Gabriela Silang Ready to Rescue Pinoys in the Middle East
The vessel was commissioned to the PCG last year in France, and was originally scheduled to reach the Philippines on 10th February 2020. However, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has directed that the vessel be used to help repatriate OFWs, as part of the Philippine government’s aim to assist Filipinos in the Middle East, the PCG shared on Facebook.
At present, BRP Gabriela Silang, along with its 35 crew members, is docked at Malta Freeport. It is getting ready to sail to the Middle East, particularly Dubai or Oman, to help ensure the safety and security of Filipinos in the region.
The vessel is currently the largest and most advanced aluminum hull OPV in the world, with the following key features:
- BRP Gabriela Silang can carry around 500 people at a time.
- The vessel has an endurance of up to five weeks of operation.
- It has outstanding maneuverability and keeping ability, not to mention comfort for passengers on board.
- It has a range of 8000 nautical miles at 15 knots, and it can perform beyond its speed specification of 20 knots.
With all of these features, the vessel is, indeed, capable of helping in the evacuation and repatriation of Filipinos, especially during these times of conflict in the Middle East.
“Mahalaga para sa amin ang kapakanan ng ating mga kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa ibang bansa (The welfare of our fellowmen who are working abroad is important to us),” stated Admiral Garcia.
“Makakaasa po kayo na nakatutok ang PCG sa mga nangyayari sa Middle East para masiguro ang kaligtasan ng ating mga makabagong bayani (Rest assured that the PCG remains alert to the Middle East situation, to help ensure the safety of our modern-day heroes),” he said.
Notably, the PCG is set to deploy 18 additional crew members that will assist BRP Gabriela Silang in carrying out its first mission in the Middle East.
ALSO READ: Duterte, DFA Extend Aid to Distressed OFWs in Jeddah
With millions of Filipinos working in the Middle East, the current situation strikes fear among their loved ones back home. Fortunately, the Philippine government and security sector, as led by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, is ready to protect our kababayans in the region.