MANILA — With the Lenten rush about to start next week, the Philippine Port Authority (PPA) on Tuesday announced that it will be instituting tight security checks on all its controlled port facilities.
This in wake of the large crowd of seagoing passengers expected to flock the various ports this Holy Week, said PPA general manager Juan C. Sta. Ana.
He added that a significant number of foreign nationals are also expected to arrive and explore the Philippines making security in ports more than a must at this time.
“PPA is increasing the security schemes this early in order to determine possible flaws before the bulk of passengers start flocking the different ports nationwide as this weekend,” the PPA chief 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,” Sta. Ana said.
The security procedures, on the other hand, include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage X-ray machines, 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 also 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 installed for immediate assistance to passengers.
Sta. Ana added that the PPA will also provide a security check fast lane for passengers carrying minimal belongings while designation of holding, waiting, or embarkation areas to segregate screened from unscreened persons will also be provided.
Aside from this, the port regulator is also asking the passengers to segregate and declare metallic objects and bladed tools for industry use so that such items can be tagged, then turned over for safekeeping and finally retrieve at the port of destination by the owner.
Vessel operators are likewise encouraged to assist in the information dissemination in the event that vessels stopped issuance of tickets for whatever reasons and to provide information when affected passengers can be accommodated in succeeding trips.
Sta. Ana also reiterated its earlier directive disallowing the selling of additional insurance coverage on top of the mandatory insurance cover already embedded to the tickets to passengers inside port premises.
Among the ports with high concentration of passengers 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 the Samar and Leyte provinces; Dumaguete which is due primarily to the number of students; as well as Davao and Cagayan De Oro, among others.