PPA braces for tough Summer as rejuvenated Ro-Ro highway expected to bring more vehicle, passenger traffic

MANILA, APRIL 10, 2017—The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has tightened the security noose in all its ports as it expects a very busy summer.

PPA, over the weekend, has directed all its port managers to mobilize its emergency response teams as well as all its security and safety personnel to ensure smooth operations in all PPA-controlled ports.

The Authority has also deployed 32 brand new baggage and walk-thru metal scanners in key ports to facilitate the movement of baggages and passengers as it anticipates volume to double its numbers compared to last year.

“This summer will be an acid test for all PPA-controlled ports in terms of safety, security and convenience,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago explained.

“With our aggressive informational initiatives over the past couple of months for the use of nautical highway, we expect that the number of vehicles and passengers to more than double this time of the year, so, we need to make our ports safe,” Santiago stressed, adding that PPA has also been working with other Government enforcement agencies amid the continuing terror threat nationwide.

“The tighter security measures, meanwhile, will last for the entire duration of the summer break or from April to mid June to guarantee our traveling public safe, secured and efficient ports,” Santiago added.

The security procedures undertaken include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage X-ray machines, as well as continuing visibility of PPA Police and security guards within the port area and Passenger Terminal Buildings (PTBs).

All ports will provide well ventilated PTBs as well as clean comfort rooms, nursing stations and other travel amenities including efficient and reliable Wi-Fi connectivity. Round-the-clock Medical and Passenger Assistance Counters and Passenger Help Desks for immediate assistance to passengers.

PPA is also providing an express lane for security procedures of passengers carrying minimal belongings while designation of holding, waiting, or embarkation areas to segregate screened from unscreened persons will also be provided.

However, the PPA is requesting 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 be retrieved at the port of destination by the owner.

Vessel operators are likewise encouraged to assist in the information dissemination in the event of suspension of operations or ticketing for whatever reasons and to provide information when affected passengers can be accommodated in succeeding trips.

PPA also reiterated its earlier directive disallowing the selling of additional insurance coverage on top of the mandatory insurance cover already embedded in 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. These ports were also the subject of the massive information campaign undertaken by the PPA at the start of the year in partnership with the Porsche Club Philippines and the Manila Sports Car Club that yielded positive result as it displayed the capability of the Ro-Ro ports to handle classic, vintage and sophisticated vehicles.

The members of the House of Representatives, led by the Committee on Transportation likewise visited the Ro-Ro highway late last month passing through Batangas Port, Calapan and Bulalacao in Mindoro, Caticlan to Iloilo via Kalibo, Iloilo to Bacolod, Dumaguete and Dapitan in Zamboanga. They likewise had a 2-day road trip from Dapitan to Davao City passing through the provinces of Cagayan de Oro and Bukidnon. This route comprises the Western Nautical Highway, which is considered the tourism corridor of the Road Ro-Ro Terminal System of the Philippines.

For their return trip, the participants of the Congressional caravan took the Eastern Nautical Highway that is also known as the Maharlika Highway.

From Davao, they travelled to Lipata in Surigao via Butuan before taking a Ro-Ro trip to Liloan in Samar then through Tacloban and Calbayog before taking a Ro-Ro to Matnog, which gave the team time to reflect on the state of the region some 4 years after Super Typhoon Yolanda, struck the area.

The House of Representatives, through the Committee on Transportation, is expected to come up with the full result of their tour when they resume their session on May 2.