The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Bohol has implemented the Safety Environmental Numbering System (SSENS) for boats as part of efforts to prevent terrorist activities in the province.
According to Captain Edgar Boado, the new commander of PCG Tagbilaran, around 5,000 bancas operating across the Visayas will be included in the numbering system.
The initiative will be carried out in coordination with local government units which handle the registration of boats in their respective areas, Boado said.
Security and safety numbers are intended to easily identify boats that are not from the province of Bohol, he added.
The PCG official also noted that the SSENS was crafted after Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) bandits infiltrated Bohol in April last year, but foiled by government troops a little over a month after their entry.
On April 10, 2017, 11 Abu Sayyaf members slipped into Bohol on board three kumpits (two-engine motorboats) through Barangay Napo, Inabanga.
Their arrival in said village immediately aroused suspicion among residents as their boats were designed differently than local bancas.
This led to the quick response of state forces in intercepting the bandits as villagers reported the sighting of the armed men who sailed aboard strange-looking bancas to authorities. (R. Tutas)