Agencies prepare security plan for Holy Week

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Drunk, drugged drivers beware. Land Transportation Office 7 Director Arnel Tancinco (right) said operatives will be on high alert against erring drivers and public transportation operators who allow overloading and overcharging of passengers, during a Regional Council Meeting presided by Airport General Manager Nigel Paul Villarete (middle). Officials from the different agencies attended the meeting, including Commodore Enrico Efren Evangelista of the Philippine Coast Guard (left). (Sun.Star Foto/Allan Defensor)


HELP desks and additional security personnel are already in place for Holy Week.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has directed all airports, seaports and bus terminals to have help desks to protect and respond to the problems of the traveling public during the observance of Holy Week.

DOTC called for a Regional Management Council meeting where Felix Angelo Quiamzon of the Cebu Port Authority said that 77 security guards were recently hired to augment port security.

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Of the 77 blue guards, 17 of them will be assigned in the ports of Sta. Fe, Daanbantayan, Toledo City, Tangil in Dumanjug and Danao City.

"We doubled the shifts of police personnel, we will assign K9 in passenger terminals, we put up help desks at Pier 1, Pier 3 and Pier 4 and our two speed boats are on standby for any eventuality," Quiamzon said.

Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) General Manager Paul Villarete, who presided the meeting, said that DOTC launched the Oplan Ligtas Byahe, which is in coordination with the MCIAA, Office of the Transportation Security and GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp.

"All agencies must submit a report to the DOTC Central Office about any untoward incident every day from March 31 to April 6," Villarete said.

On the part of the Maritime Industry Authority, Senior Maritime Specialist Jess Quino said that the agency issued special permits to shipping companies for special trips to prevent passengers from being stranded.

However, Quino said that shipping lines are not allowed to take advantage by increasing fares.

He urged the public to report to Marina if fares are increased.

On the other hand, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Rey Elnar said they have already issued 11 special permits to bus companies who want to make extra trips even outside their travel lines.

Yesterday, Elnar said that Vallacar Transit, which operates Ceres buses, has applied for 40 special permits for various destinations in Cebu Province and Negros Oriental.

"Since last week, we coordinated with the governors of Cebu, Bohol and Negros Oriental and the Philippine National Police and Citom (City Traffic Operations and Management) because we want an integrated response and unified procedure in case of accidents," Elnar said.

He added that LTFRB will conduct inspections on buses to determine if these are still road-worthy.

Land Transportation Office 7 Director Arnel Tancinco said that they will conduct operations against drunk and drugged driving, overloading and overcharging.

On ferrying outside the travel lines, Tancinco said they will only recognize the special permits issued by the LTFRB and not by the local government units.

The Philippine Coast Guard-Visayas is on red alert since March 27.

Newly-installed Visayas commander, Commodore Enrico Evangelista, said that all their vessels, including rubber boats, are ready for deployment in case of emergencies.

"We want a successful Oplan Ligtas Biyaye Semana Santa 2015 because the safety of the people is our number one concern," Evangelista said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 31, 2015.

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