The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will implement starting this week tighter security checks at ports ahead of the summer break and Lenten observation.
PPA general manager Atty. Juan C. Sta. Ana, in a statement, said they are expecting a large number of passengers to flock to the ports to take advantage of the break from school and work.
He added that a significant number of foreign nationals are also anticipated to arrive to explore the Philippines, making stricter security at the ports a must.
“PPA is increasing the security schemes this early in order to determine possible flaws before the bulk of passengers start flocking to the different ports nationwide as this weekend,” Sta. Ana said.
“I am directing all port managers to come up with the best security schemes and other action plans to complement and enhance the existing measures being enforced,” the port authority chief added.
Security procedures include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage X-ray machines and walk-through metal detectors, as well as continuing visibility of PPA police and security guards within the port area and passenger terminal buildings (PTBs).
All ports are expected to provide a well-ventilated PTB as well as clean comfort rooms, nursing stations, and other travel amenities. Round-the-clock medical and passenger assistance counters and passenger help desks are likewise to be installed to offer immediate assistance to passengers.
To be set up is a security-check fast lane for passengers carrying minimal belongings as well as designate holding, waiting, or embarkation areas to segregate screened from unscreened persons.
On the part of passengers, they are being asked to segregate and declare metallic objects and bladed tools for industry use, for tagging and turning over for safekeeping to port authorities before they are retrieved by the owners at the port of destination.
Vessel operators are at the same time encouraged to assist in information dissemination if the issuance of tickets is stopped for whatever reason, and to volunteer information as to when affected passengers can be accommodated in succeeding trips.
Sta. Ana also reiterated its earlier directive disallowing the sale of additional insurance coverage inside port premises on top of the mandatory insurance cover already embedded into the tickets of passengers.
Among the ports with expected high concentrations of passenger arrivals include the Batangas Port, which is a jump-off point to Puerto Galera, Mindoro and eventually to Boracay via Caticlan; the 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, primarily due to to the number of vacationing students; Davao; and Cagayan de Oro.