The United States government on Friday formally turned over its Joint Maritime Law Enforcement Training Center to PNP Maritime-Palawan in a ceremony held in Bgy. Sta. Lourdes, Puerto Princesa City and attended by PNP Chief Ronald dela Rosa.
US Embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Klecheski said the $1.3 million facility project will help strengthen the cooperation between the US and the Philippines beyond military and law enforcement efforts.
A deed of donation and turn over of the property was signed by Klecheski and Lieutenant Commander Jeremy Obenchain. PNP Police Director General Ronald Dela Rosa who was the guest of honor during the turnover rites lauded the quality of the facility.
“Because it is a US government project. In the Phillipines, on projects like this, we go for the lowest bidder, but you, you go for the best bidder,” he said.
Police Chief Supt Marcelo Morales, Director of the Maritime group has extended his gratitude to the US government for the project. He also emphasized that it is not exclusive for Maritime but for other law-enforcement agencies.
Over the past ten years, the U. S. government has been engaged the Philippines in the development of a Special Operations Unit within the Philippine Maritime Group. The support effort was geared to provide maritime public safety along coastal Palawan and the sea border with Malaysia.
Since 2008, the United States has donated 10 patrol boats and constructed two PNP Maritime Group headquarters facilities, one at Honda Bay, Puerto Princesa and one in Bongao, Tawi-Tawi.
The project is jointly managed by the U. S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics and LawEnforcement Affairs; the U. S. Department of Justice International Criminal Investigations Training Assistance Program; and the U. S. Department of Defense Pacific Command Joint Interagency Task Force West.