Provincial Government of Batanes hosts Basco Port operations closing ceremony with 130th Engineer Brigade

By Spc. Devin DavisJune 11, 2024

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U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences.
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units. 
 
The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis)
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis)
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BASCO, Philippines – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command participated in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 525th Combat Engineer Battalion, in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

The Provincial Government of the Province of Batanes hosted the ceremony, and in attendance were the Hon. Marilou Cayco, Governor of Batanes, the Hon. German Cacam, the Mayor of Basco, Batanes, and service members from the Philippines and the United States.

U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units. 
 
The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis)
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis)
VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units. 
 
The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis)
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis)
VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

For a long time, the people of Batanes have sought assistance to improve the Basco Port. Still, due to limited resources and the unavailability of needed equipment and technical personnel, the PGB requested help from the U.S. Embassy and the U.S. Army.

Over the past four weeks, Army divers from the 7DD and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

“The dredging and improvement of the Basco Port will have a profound impact on the lives of our fisherfolk, who have long struggled with the challenges posed by the presence of obstructive boulders and the shallowness of the port,” said Cacam. “This project will not only facilitate the smooth movement of their fishing boats but also contribute to the overall economic growth and sustainability of our community.”

According to Cacam, this project became a symbol of shared commitment to progress, prosperity, and enduring friendship between the U.S. and the people of Batanes.

The U.S. Army engineers brought their expertise in underwater capabilities and combined that with the Philippine Army engineer’s valuable insight into the local terrain and community-based practices. This mutual exchange of knowledge, skills, and experiences enriched both forces.

U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units. 
 
The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis)
1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis)
VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences.
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

“I would like to congratulate all of us on the successful completion of the first part of the multi-year Basco Port clearance project,” said 1st Lt. Alexis Nocos, team leader of the 525th Combat Engineer Battalion. “This activity marks a transition for the Armed Forces of the Philippines towards external defense and emphasizing the importance of underwater engineering.”

The project involved SCUBA diving, surface supply diving, hydrographic surveying, the use of hydraulic tools underwater, salvage operations using air lift bags, and rock fracturing using other technology.

“This is an incredibly difficult project for us. Everything you do underwater is more difficult than what you do on land,” said Lt. Col. Michael Kendall, the 84th Engineer Battalion commander. “This is an environmentally sensitive area. This is a special place; it must be protected. We are trying to change it for the better without changing its nature, so we must be careful with how we construct things here.”

U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units. 
 
The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis)
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis)
VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units. 
 
The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis)
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participate in the closing ceremony of the Basco Port clearance operations with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’, 525th Combat Engineer Battalion during JPMRC-X in Basco, Philippines, June 3, 2024.

This ceremony was hosted by the Provincial Government of Batanes.

Over the past four weeks, Army Divers from the 7th Dive Detachment (7DD) and their Filipino counterparts executed debris removal operations at Basco Port, Batanes Province, Philippines. Organized under Humanitarian Civic Action, 7DD’s mission was to improve the channels leading into the harbor to accommodate larger vessels with deeper drafts within Basco Port, a task that was successfully accomplished through the joint efforts of both military units.

The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC-X) is a Department of the Army initiative consisting of a deployable package of personnel and equipment designed to support training exercises across the Pacific. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Devin Davis) (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis)
VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – U.S. Army divers with the 7th Engineer Dive Detachment, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, partner with Philippines service members for a port clearance operation during Salaknib 2024 in Basco, Philippines, May 25, 2024. Salaknib is an annual exercise between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. Military designed to strengthen bilateral interoperability, capabilities, trust, and cooperation built over decades of shared experiences. (Photo Credit: Spc. Devin Davis) VIEW ORIGINAL

Because Batanes is the only province in the Philippines that is both a protected area and an ancestral domain, an Environmental Compliance Certificate was needed for construction to occur. The Department of National Defense Secretary Gibo Teodoro played an instrumental part in securing this approval.

“With the very stringent application of ECC, I had to pull strings and call the DND secretary to help us. Secretary Gibo helped us in immediately securing the ECC, which allowed the team to do their needed work,” said Cayco. “My sincere thanks also goes to all individuals who have, in one way or another, extended help that ensured the success of this undertaking. What we have seen here today is a sincere display of the U.S. act of kindness and generosity. It will forever be edged in the hearts and minds of the Ivatans.”

Cayco ended her speech with the words “Diyos mamahes and Mabuhay po kayo,” which translates in English to “God bless you and live.”