• Agencies ordered to ensure public safety

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    AVOIDING THE RUSH A man prays before a crypt at the St. Peter Shrine Columbary on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City ahead of the All Saints’ Day-All Souls’ Day weekend. PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    AVOIDING THE RUSH A man prays before a crypt at the St. Peter Shrine Columbary on Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City ahead of the All Saints’ Day-All Souls’ Day weekend.
    PHOTO BY RUY L. MARTINEZ

    President Benigno Aquino 3rd has ordered all concerned government agencies to ensure the safety and convenience of the commuting public in the coming All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day weekend.

    ”The President continues to monitor the condition of our airports and ports to make sure that our people and travelers will have safe and convenient trip for All Saints’ Day,” Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said.

    ”All concerned agencies and officials were ordered to do everything to ensure the safe and hassle-free commemoration of All Saints’ Day,” he added.

    The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) has activated “Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Undas 2015” to ensure safe and reliable travel, mandating all its attached agencies to implement 24/7 operations to attend to passenger concerns from October 30 to November 2.

    The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has been designated to issue special permits for buses to cater to a huge volume of travelers.

    The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has also started to inspect transport terminals while the Civil Aviation Board (CAB) ordered airlines to abide by  policies under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights.

    The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) has also ordered airline companies to deploy additional personnel particularly at check-in counters to assure efficient processing of travel documents.

    The Maritime Industry Authority and the Philippine Coast Guard have been directed to conduct routine seaworthiness checks on ships.

    Train operations

    The Light Rail Transit (LRT) Lines 1 and 2, the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT 3) and the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will continue to operate on regular hours on November 1 and 2.

    The management of the LRT 1 said there will be safety and medical teams during those dates as an added measure. There will also be Red Cross volunteers on standby at the stations.

    In addition, management will place water coolers and dispensers at stations nearest to public cemeteries, namely R. Papa, Blumentritt and 5th Avenue for train commuters.

    Station supervisors will be available until closing time to attend to customer needs.
    There will be additional tellers deployed as well.

    672 buses get special permits

    Special permits to travel from October 30 to November 3 were issued on Friday to 672 out of the 953 bus units that applied with the LTFRB this week.

    LTFRB said  it had received 372 applications with 953 units but only 672 were granted while the remaining 281 were denied.

    Special permits are only given to applicants who comply with the LTFRB’s requirements, including safety rules.

    LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez assured that they will continue to monitor overloading in public transportation and also apprehend colorum (illegal) buses. It began conducting inspections at transport terminals to ensure that buses meet roadworthiness requirements earlier this week.

    Random drug and alcohol testings were also conducted to ensure that drivers are not under the influence of liquor or prohibited substances while conveying passengers from one point to another.

    Security alert

    Aside from mobilizing 4,000 troops nationwide to help  police secure the annual All Saints’ Day commemoration, the military will deploy drug and bomb-sniffing dogs (K-9 units), bomb disposal and medical teams for possible contingencies. Armed Forces deputy chief of staff for operations Brig. Gen. Carlito Galvez said these units will act as quick reaction teams should any threat arise during the holidays.

    Of the 4,000 troops, around 500 to 600 will be deployed to Metro Manila primarily to cover the Manila North Cemetery and Libingan ng Mga Bayani in Taguig City.
    Galvez said these troops will augment the 2,000 policemen in Metro Manila.

    The remaining 3,600 will serve as checkpoint and chokepoint guards in various areas nationwide.

    These soldiers will serve as preventive barrier against groups or individuals out to disrupt the annual commemoration.

    The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) director,  Chief Supt. Edgardo Tinio, on Friday said over 4,000 policemen, barangay tanod (village patrol) and police auxiliaries will secure six cemeteries and memorial parks, nine columbaria, 28 bus terminals and 10 MRT and LRT stations in the city. The police will also patrol the streets and byways.

    Squatters out

    A total of 39 informal settler families living at the back of the Navotas City public cemetery will be relocated before the end of November.

    Mayor John Reynald Tiangco said the informal settlers would be brought to a housing project. About 225 families were earlier relocated to a relocation site in coordination with the National Housing Authority.

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