• PPA tightens port security after Davao blast

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    THE Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) placed all ports in the nation on heightened alert in the wake of the deadly bombing in Davao City on September 2, but reported that no significant threats were detected during the week since.

    Following the explosion of an improvised bomb at a busy night market in Davao City last Friday night that killed 14 and injured more than 60 people, PPA said there was a need to further boost safety and security in all ports, particularly in Mindanao, to deter any further terrorist acts.

    “All port managers and port police, particularly in the Mindanao region, are instructed to take all (delete) necessary measures to make sure that there are no loose ends when it comes to safety and security,” PPA Acting General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said in a directive.

    “You are likewise further directed to subject all cargoes, luggage, and passengers to strict inspection procedures to guarantee that criminal elements will not be able to use the ports as a springboard for their unlawful activities,” Santiago’s order added.

    Santiago also reminded port personnel that, “The terror threat is not only concentrated in Mindanao but nationwide, so ports in the Visayas and Luzon Regions should not be complacent and are likewise advised to increase security visibility and heighten security measures.”

    A spokesperson for PPA yesterday said that no significant security incidents had been reported, pointing out that most of the heightened security measures were already in place before the Davao bombing took place.

    “Our personnel were able to intercept a passenger carrying a large amount of shabu in the port of Iligan City because of stricter security checks about a week earlier,” the spokesperson said, referring to an incident reported in a statement from the PPA over the weekend.

    In terms of port operations, the PPA said that only minor delays were being reported at Davao’s Sasa Port due to intensified security procedures. Port operators at Manila’s North and South Harbors, the Manila International Container Terminal, and the Port of Subic all reported that the security measures, while visible, were not interrupting normal operations.

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