PPA enforces strict COVID-19 protocols, activates Malasakit Helpdesks ahead of the Lenten break

26 MARCH 2021, MANILA—In preparation for the possible increase in the number of travelers due to the upcoming Holy Week, and to address the rise in COVID-19 cases, ports under the control of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) are now on ‘heightened alert’ to ensure that proper health and safety protocols are observed ahead of the Lenten break.

Special attention is also being implemented in ports located in the “NCR Plus” to guarantee that only authorized persons can enter and exit the facilities.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago, as early as five days ago, already released the enhanced health and safety guidelines to be observed in ports to secure the movement of the local and international supply chains while at the same time safeguarding the belt for the passage sector in areas where interzonal travel is allowed.

“It is a must for the PPA to strictly enforce all anti-COVID-19 measures to protect the sea-going public as much as possible during this Lenten Break and eventually this coming Summer vacation,” Santiago added.

“PPA is advising the public to make sure that they have the vital documentary requirements needed by their LGU of destination, particularly those coming from the NCR Plus bubble to avoid any inconvenience in their planned itinerary of travel,” Santiago explained.

Based on PPA Memorandum Circular No. 08-2021 released last Monday, among the measures being imposed at PPA ports include:

1. Wearing of face mask and face shields

2. Conduct of temperature check

3. Keeping the PTBs and offices well ventilated

4. Conduct of frequent disinfection of PTBs and PPA offices and facilities

5. Frequent handwashing and use of alcohols and sanitizers

6. No PPA personnel and port users with COVID-19 symptoms shall be allowed inside the port, PTB and offices

7. Observance of appropriate social distancing

8. Only authorized persons outside their residence as defined under IATF Resolution No. 104 and DOTr Advisory dated 22 March 2021 shall be allowed into and out the ports.

Aside from these, PPA has likewise mobilized its Malasakit Help Desks in ports ready to serve passengers in need of assistance as well as required ship agents to provide and regularly update their passengers of their ships’ arrival and departure schedules.

For convenience, ports shall be equipped with First Aid services on a 24/7 schedule within the port; properly cleaned and maintained PTB facilities at all times particularly comfort rooms and washrooms; provision for drinking water; extra tents and chairs for passengers’ use while waiting in port.

For safety, all passengers are required to go through PTB security screening before boarding the vessels including the establishment of security-check fast lane services for passengers carrying minimal belongings, PWD, pregnant women or childbearing.

“We are all in this together. With the continuing guidance from the Department of Transportation, under the leadership of Secretary Art Tugade, a little sacrifice, understanding and cooperation from everyone will go a long way as we continue to rebound and fight towards recovery and progress,” Santiago stressed.