By Priam Nepomuceno

INSPECTION. Western Command (Wescom) head, Vice Admiral Alberto B. Carlos (right) talks to seven personnel stationed at the Matincloc platform in Palawan on April 7, 2023. Carlos also conducted an aerial inspection of the Malampaya. (Photo courtesy of Wescom FB page)

MANILA – Western Command (Wescom) head, Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, led an aerial inspection of the Malampaya Natural Gas Platform, considered the country’s “energy crown jewel,” over the weekend.

In a Facebook post Saturday, Wescom said the inspection is part of its commitment to “ensure steady power supply during the Holy Week and throughout the summer months when demand is expected to peak.”

After his aerial inspection, Carlos landed on the Matinloc platform, some 42 kilometers off mainland El Nido, Palawan to talk to the seven-man team stationed there and assess the condition of the station and its power and water supplies.

He also met with the ranking commanders of Joint Task Force (JTF) Malampaya. led by Navy Capt. Brendo Casaclang, 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 percent of Luzon’s power requirement. Any interruption to this line may mean a minimum of a 10-hour blackout,” Carlos stressed.

To make the most of the Malampaya visit, Carlos observed the operation of the Philippine Navy’s unmanned aerial system (UAS) flight unit stationed in El Nido.

The UAS flight unit is under the Naval Air Wing and is currently attached and operationally controlled by Wescom to provide sustained maritime domain awareness picture in the JTF Malampaya’s area of operations.

“As the Navy’s Gray Eagle, the most senior naval aviator still in active service, Vice Admiral Carlos noted the strong presence of naval air assets in (the) JTF Malampaya area. In addition to the UAS flight unit, maritime patrol aircraft NV-312 and AW-109 naval helicopter NH-431 are also flying regular air patrols in northern Palawan,” the Facebook post read. (PNA)