PPA directed over the weekend all port managers to mobilize their emergency response teams and security and safety personnel to ensure smooth operations at all PPA-controlled ports.
Anticipating volume to double compared to last year, the ports authority has deployed 32 brand-new baggage and walk-through metal scanners at key ports to facilitate the movement of baggage and passengers.
“This summer will be an acid test for all PPA-controlled ports in terms of safety, security and convenience,” PPA general manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago said in a statement.
“With our aggressive informational initiatives over the past couple of months for the use of nautical highway, we expect that the number of vehicles and passengers to more than double this time of the year, so, we need to make our ports safe,” Santiago noted, adding that PPA is also working with other government enforcement agencies amid the continuing terrorism threat nationwide.
“The tighter security measures, meanwhile, will last for the entire duration of the summer break or from April to mid-June to guarantee our traveling public safe, secure and efficient ports,” Santiago added.
Security procedures undertaken include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage x-ray machines, as well as continuing visibility of PPA police and security guards within the port area and passenger terminal buildings (PTBs).
All ports will provide well-ventilated PTBs, clean comfort rooms, nursing stations, and other travel amenities, including efficient and reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. Round-the-clock medical and passenger assistance counters and passenger help desks will be provided for immediate assistance to passengers.
PPA is also providing an express lane for passengers carrying minimal belongings, while designated holding, waiting, or embarkation areas will also be provided to segregate screened from unscreened persons.
PPA is requesting passengers to declare and segregate metallic objects and bladed tools for industry use, as these will be tagged and turned over for safekeeping, to be retrieved by the owner at the port of destination.
Vessel operators are encouraged to assist in information dissemination should operations or ticketing be suspended for any reason and on when affected passengers can be accommodated in succeeding trips.
PPA also reiterated its earlier directive disallowing the selling to passengers inside port premises of additional insurance coverage on top of the mandatory insurance cover already embedded in the tickets.
Among the ports with a high concentration of passengers are Batangas Port, which is a jump-off point to Puerto Galera in Mindoro, and eventually to Boracay via Caticlan; North Port in Manila, which is considered as the country’s main domestic port; Tagbilaran port, which serves as receiving areas for people visiting the famous Panglao Island; Matnog in Sorsogon for those going to Samar and Leyte provinces; Dumaguete, which is the destination for a number of students; as well as Davao and Cagayan de Oro.
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