OPERATIONS at Zamboanga City’s seaport have returned to normal following the military’s declaration that hostilities in the city are over, with a dusk-to-dawn curfew the only remaining hiccup, according to port authorities and users.
In a phone interview with PortCalls last week, Zamboanga port manager Liberto dela Rosa said the port’s cargo and passenger operations have resumed.
He said shipping lines, especially those who are members of the Philippine Liner Shipping Association, and Zamboanga-based carriers are now calling at the port while passengers have started using it.
“We already resumed operations in Zamboanga,” Roberto Umali, president of domestic carrier Lorenzo Shipping, told PortCalls in a text message.
However, there is a slight backlog caused by delays when the port was still in heightened alert during the closing days of the recent fighting between government forces and Moro National Liberation Front rebels.
A nighttime curfew from 6:00 pm to 5:00 am is being implemented at the port and may also cause a slight backlog since vessels are advised not to call or leave the port during the curfew hours, Dela Rosa said.
Adding to that, there is congestion at the lone gate being used for passengers and cargo trucks because a second gate near Corcuera St. is in an area still considered critical as clearing operations against the rebels are under way.
Outside the port, a 10 pm to 4 am curfew is in force, and Lorenzo Shipping’s Umali said it affects daily trucking deliveries since trucks are not allowed in the streets during that period.
Dela Rosa clarified that the port operates 24/7 and cargo handling continues during the curfew, but no port worker is allowed to enter or leave the wharf during those hours.
The Crisis Management Committee said on Sept. 30 that the clearing operations would take 10-14 days.
Dela Rosa hopes the curfew will be lifted after the clearing operations.
Photo from www.ppasomin.com.ph