Subic, Zambales – The National Coast Watch Council, through its Secretariat supported the Subic Sailing Club’s hosting of this year’s Subic Bay Around Verde Island Passage Race (SBAVIPR) and Subic Bay Cup Regatta (SBCR) held from February 22 – March 2, 2019. The week-long event was highlighted by the support of the international boating community to promote the Philippines as a major boating destination in the world. The SBAVIPR and SBCR also served as pre-events to the 2019 Maritime and Archipelagic Nation Awareness Month (MANA Mo) campaign.

The Secretariat also participated in the Opening ceremonies and send off/race start of the SBAVIPR and SBCR held in February 22 and February 26, respectively. Both welcome events were filled with messages from the leaders of the Subic Sailing Club and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

During the SBAVIPR welcome event, a special message was given by RADM VIRME TORRALBA AFP (Ret.) of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) who discussed on agency’s support to the event as well as its effort to enhance the tourism aspect of the industry and efforts to keep up with the growing number of yachts and leisure craft owners in the country. RADM Torralba also briefly discussed the newly-formulated Maritime Industry Development Plan which aims to implement safety standards for tourist ships and leisure crafts as well as forge ties with various organizations to encourage investments in the country.

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Adoracion Navarro of NEDA’s Regional Development Office graced the opening of the SBCR. Her message emphasized the NEDA’s move to create a NEDA Board-Marine Resource and Land Use committee which is hoped to make high-level deliberations on marine-related affairs, among others. Usec Navarro also spoke about the importance of having a National Physical Framework Plan which will serve as a guide on the optimal utilization and sustainable management not only of the country’s land-based physical resources but also covering bodies of water and marine resources.