President Benigno Aquino 3rd will be visiting major transportation hubs in Metro Manila and Batangas on Wednesday to check security arrangements for the influx of travelers this Holy Week.
Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacerida confirmed Aquino’s inspection tour as he reminded government agencies and transport service providers to exercise extraordinary diligence to ensure the safety of people traveling to the provinces.
“With respect to the inspection, the President always makes it a point to inspect terminals to ensure the safety and convenience of our Filipino riding public,” Lacierda told reporters in a news conference on Tuesday.
In previous years, the President visited the North Passenger Terminal Complex at Manila North Harbor, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and bus terminals on Holy Wednesday.
Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd assured the public that the Philippine National Police (PNP) and local government units (LGUs) will employ the “whole of government approach” in ensuring a “safe, secure and solemn” observance of Holy Week.
More than 63,000 police personnel nationwide have been mobilized in and deployed to more than 16,000 places of convergence.
Roxas earlier enjoined local chief executives to convene Local Peace and Order Councils (LPOCs) to prepare for the expected heavy movement of people, and provide sufficient transportation and emergency services.
The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), meanwhile, set up a Lakbay Alalay motorists assistance scheme from March 30 to April 6.
Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson also on Tuesday said DPWH personnel would be on a round-the-clock shift along national highways.
The department has also installed informational and directional signs, patched up potholes, marked pavements with reflectorized paint and installed warnings signs on all ongoing construction projects.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) also on Tuesday reminded motorists heading to the provinces to follow road regulations to ensure their safety.
The PNP spokesman, Chief Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr., reminded the public to always use seatbelts when aboard a vehicle, as mandated by Republic Act (RA) 8750.
RA 8750 requires “mandatory compliance by motorists [riding]private and public vehicles to use seatbelt devices and requiring vehicle manufacturers to install seatbelt devices in all manufactured vehicles.”
Cerbo also cited RA 10054 or the Motorcycle Helmet Act, which requires motorcycle riders to wear standard protective motorcycle helmets, as well as RA 10586 or the Anti-Drug and Drunk Driving Act, which penalizes “driving under the influence of alcohol and dangerous drugs, and similar substance.”
The Philippine Red Cross has placed its safety assistance operations in active status since March 27.
According to PRC Chairman Richard J. Gordon, the activation of the safety assistance operations meant to ensure immediate response should any emergency arise while many people travel to the provinces and visit churches in observance of Lent.
He added that aside from the first aid stations and welfare desks, they are also deploying volunteers and ambulances in public-convergence areas such as the Ali Mall bus terminal at the Araneta Center in Cubao, Quezon City, and at the Batangas pier.
Gordon said they have mobilized ambulances and volunteers along with the first aid stations and welfare desks in gasoline stations, major highways, churches, parks and other major crowded areas to offer assistance and emergency response to travelers.
PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang advised everyone to keep safe and be wary of accidents.
“Let us be safe during our trips this Holy Week and keep the observance solemn. We should follow safety rules and regulations to avoid accidents,” Pang said.