Due to “credible threats of further terror attacks and other similar acts of violence by lawless elements,” organizers of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Day has called-off the Philippines’ participation in the event.
ICC, the world’s largest largest volunteer effort to clear waterways and beaches of trash and document what they find, is held worldwide simultaneously every third Saturday of September, this year on the 17th.
The cancellation was issued this morning through a Memorandum Circular by RAdm. Geronimo P. Reyes, by authority of VAdm Valentin B. Prieto, Jr., national director, Philippine Coast Guard Auxiliary, with the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC)-Philippines, the duly designated coordinators of ICC in the Philippines.
Despite “all preparations have been completed and arrangements have been put in place by this time, the public nature of the nationwide simultaneous clean-up activities, which are easy targets for groups with intent to sow terror and anarchy, cannot be simply be disregarded,” Reyes said.
He directed all District Auxiliary Directors to “immediately cascade the cancellation of the ICC Day activities to their respective auxiliary squadrons and auxiliary menbers.”
In the Subic Bay Freeport and the province of Zambales, Capt. Randy Escolango, PCGA director, Auxiliary Squadron, 111th Auxiliary Squadron and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority deputy administrator for Legal Affairs, said the safety and security of participants are more important and must not be compromised.
Escolango had earlier expressed safety and security concerns in light of the country’s current state of national emergency as declared by President Rodrigo R. Duterte via Proclamation no. 55, series of 2016 as an off-shot of the recent bombing in Davao City which claimed 14 lives and injured scores of others.
The Subic Freeport, Olongapo City and the province of Zambales recorded more than 50,000 volunteers in 2014, a record in the country that was aimed to be doubled this year. (VVV)