WESCOM chief Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos (right) speaks to men of the Joint Task Force Malampaya about securing the Malampaya natural gas platform. | Photo from the Western Command Public Affairs Office

Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, the chief of Western Command (WESCOM), conducted an aerial assessment of the Malampaya natural gas platform, which is regarded as the energy sector’s crown jewel in the country.

According to WESCOM, the aerial inspection was carried out as part of the Command’s commitment to guarantee a stable power supply during the Holy Week and throughout the summer months, when demand is anticipated to increase.

Upon concluding the aerial inspection, he made a personal visit to the seven-man team stationed at the Matinloc platform, which is situated 42 kilometers away from mainland El Nido. He also evaluated the condition of the station and its power and water supply.

In addition to his visit to the Matinloc platform, Carlos also held a meeting with the leadership of Joint Task Force Malampaya (JTFM), headed by Capt. Brendo Casaclang. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the challenges of securing the energy projects in the western frontier.

“It is important for us to ensure the uninterrupted oil supply chain from Malampaya as it accounts for 40% of Luzon’s power requirement. Any interruption to this line may mean a minimum of a 10-hour blackout,” Carlos explained.

He also took use of his time in Malampaya to check in on the El Nido-based Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) Flight Unit of the Philippine Navy.

The UAS Flight Unit falls under the Naval Air Wing but is currently attached to and operationally controlled by WESCOM to provide sustained maritime domain awareness in the area of operations of JTFM.

Carlos, the Navy’s gray eagle and the most senior naval aviator in active service, acknowledged the significant naval air assets present in the JTF Malampaya area.

Alongside the UAS Flight Unit, the maritime patrol aircraft NV312 and the AW109 naval helicopter NH431 conduct regular air patrols in northern Palawan.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.