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Philippine Ports Authority general manager Atty. Jay Daniel Santiago demonstrates the use of the Unified Electronic Ticketing System kiosk during a test run at Batangas port on Sept. 18 | Photo from PPA

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) conducted on Sept. 18 a test run of an online system for integrated vessel booking and payment at roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) ports.

PPA tested the Unified Electronic Ticketing System at the ports of Batangas and Calapan, Mindoro. Full implementation in all PPA-operated passenger ports is eyed early next year.

Also known as Centralized Ticketing System (CTS) under PPA Administrative Order (AO) No. 12-2019, the online application aims to process real-time on a single portal all transactions by government, shipping companies, port terminal operators, passenger terminal building (PTB) operators, and the general public.

READ: PPA rolls out online application rules for vessel booking, payment

The system seeks to get rid of fixers and scalpers, and improve port processes for maritime safety and security.

PPA plans to install kiosks in passenger terminals to allow passengers without online access to book and pay for their tickets. There are currently two kiosks installed in Batangas and Calapan ports, which were used during the test run.

PPA was originally set to pilot test the system last March January 15 in Matnog Port in Sorsogon but had to hold off to make way for adjustments, such as enabling payment readers to detect between authentic and counterfeit bills, and read the new P20 coin design. Another pilot test was scheduled last March but was again put on hold.

READ: PPA readies testing for centralized ticketing system

PPA former Port Operations and Services Department manager Lilian Javier, in a presentation last August 2019, said implementing CTS, originally called Online Ticketing System, would also comply with the International Maritime Organization’s mandatory requirement for electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew, and passengers as part of the revised Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL). The FAL aims to harmonize procedures for a ship’s arrival and stay at, and departure from, a port.

In addition, CTS is in keeping with Republic Act No. 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business Act.

Javier noted some shipping lines are already offering online booking with bus booking component, while others still have no available online booking platform.

Under the current process, passengers, usually carrying heavy luggage, traditionally have to wait in line to book their tickets without assurance of getting accommodation. Once tickets are booked, they must line up again to pay the PTB fees and secure pre-inspection before they can enter the PTB and later board the vessel.

AO 12-2019, which took effect on December 24, 2019, applies to domestic Ro-Ro/passenger ships calling at ports under the jurisdiction of PPA as well as vessel passengers.

Under AO 12-2019, PPA will be responsible for the system software, office space and hardware to be used in the booking/payment processes at PPA ports.

Shipping lines will be responsible for other office spaces and equipment, and facilities not provided by PPA.

Shipping lines not part of AO 12-2019 “will not be allowed to berth for purposes of loading passengers.” – Roumina Pablo

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