PPA imposes entry protocol in offices, ports in fight against COVID-19

27 MARCH 2020, MANILA—The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is putting another safety and security layer in its bid to make Its ports COVID-19 free including the entire port community.

Starting Friday, the PPA is imposing the accomplishment of an entry form for all persons transacting with the agency. The entry protocol aims to determine the movement of its employees and the transacting public in the last 7 days.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago explained that the imposition of the protocol will greatly enhance the ‘contact tracing’ mechanism if and when a person in the port community is tested positive with COVID-19.

“As of Friday, the PPA port community nationwide is still COVID-19 free and we are working hard to maintain that level,” Santiago said.

“We are putting this protocol into place so that we can easily trace the movement of any person who entered any of our facilities if ever that person tested positive for COVID-19 infection,” Santiago explained.

“However, we are aware that there are certain limitations as to the disclosure and usage of any information gathered from this initiative and we will comply with the requirements provided under RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act,” Santiago added.

Port operations across all PPA-controlled ports are ongoing and unhampered. Except for the ports under Luzon area which were affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine, all other ports are operating under full commercial operations.

Data showed that approximately 82% of port operations were concentrated for cargo movement while only 28% were dedicated for the passage sector. For the past two days, there were about 493 shipcalls from these ports with 206 recorded as full commercial operations.

PPA has likewise issued a marching order to all its Port Management Offices nationwide to make sure that no arbitrary charges are imposed by any port stakeholder and service provider while the entire nation is under the ECQ and General Community Quarantine in order not to bring added burden to the public.

The agency is also continuously appealing for understanding and patience while it slowly calibrates or introduces certain guidelines to facilitate the movement of goods and people to and from the ports while maintaining a high-level of COVID-19 safety and security initiatives.

“We are all in this together. The PPA, along with the Department of Transportation, will not leave any stone unturned just to give the much-needed help to our port stakeholders, shipping, and logistics industries,” Santiago added.

“We also urge everyone to just stay home as PPA, the DOTr and the Department of Trade and Industry are continuously working to ensure sufficient supply of basic goods and other essentials while the whole country continues with its fight against the dreaded disease,” Santiago added.

Meanwhile, in compliance with the directive of the DOTr secretary to remit in advance its dividend to help the National Government in its fight against COVID-19, the PPA remitted more than P4 billion in total dividend, besting the two other DOTr agencies by at least a billion pesos.

Since 2016, PPA has remitted a total of P12.6 billion in dividends: P1.9 billion for 2016, P3.1 billion for 2017, P3.5 billion for 2018, and P4 billion for 2019.