The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has started to tighten port security a week before the expected exodus of passengers using the ports during the Lenten break.
In a statement, PPA General Manager Juan Sta. Ana said, “ensuring the safety of passengers using our ports is our utmost concern, especially during peak seasons such as the Lenten and summer breaks.”
The PPA is increasing the security schemes this early to determine possible flaws before the bulk of passengers start flocking to the different ports nationwide as early as Monday next week.
Sta. Ana said he has directed all PPA district and port managers to come up with additional security schemes and other action plans to complement and enhance the measures being enforced.
He also cited the earlier PPA directive disallowing the selling of additional insurance coverage on top of the mandatory insurance cover already embedded in the tickets to passengers inside port premises.
The enhanced security procedures, on the other hand, include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage X-ray machines, wal- through metal detectors as well as continuing visibility of PPA police and security guards within the port area and passenger terminal buildings (PTBs).
All ports are also expected to provide a well-ventilated PTB as well as clean comfort rooms, nursing stations and other travel amenities. Round-the-clock medical and passenger assistance counters and passenger help desks will likewise serve the public.
The PPA will also provide a security check fast lane for passengers carrying minimal belongings while designation of holding, waiting or embarkation areas to segregate screened from unscreened persons will also be provided.
The agency is also asking the passengers to segregate and declare metallic objects and bladed tools for industry use so that such items can be tagged, then turned over for safekeeping and later retrieved at the port of destination by the owner.
Vessel operators are also encouraged to actively assist in the information dissemination in the event that vessels stopped the issuance of tickets for whatever reason and to provide information when affected passengers can be accommodated in succeeding trips.
Meanwhile, departing and arriving Manila passengers will be treated with first class accommodation after the Manila North Harbor opened full commercial operations late last year.
“We are appealing to the passengers to understand if they experience a little inconvenience due to the strict security procedures as these are all for their benefit,” Sta. Ana said.