• PPA tightens security in ports amid terror threat

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    TIGHTER security measures will be implemented in the country’s ports from April until mid-June amid the continuing terror threat nationwide, the Philippine Ports Authority said on Monday.

    Security procedures will include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage X-ray machines, as well as continuing visibility of PPA police and security guards within the port area and passenger terminal buildings (PTBs).

    Passengers are requested to segregate and declare metallic objects and bladed tools for industrial use so that such items can be tagged and turned over for safekeeping, then retrieved at the port of destination by the owner.

    Over the weekend, the US Embassy in Manila an advisory to its citizens to be careful in traveling to Central Visayas after it received “unsubstantiated yet credible information” that terrorist groups may attempt to conduct kidnappings in Central Visayas, which includes both Cebu and Bohol provinces.

    “This summer will be an acid test for all PPA-controlled ports in terms of safety, security, and convenience,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said in a statement.

    “With our aggressive informational initiatives over the past couple of months for the use of the nautical highway, we expect the number of vehicles and passengers to more than double this time of the year so we need to make our ports safe,” Santiago added.

    He said PPA has also been working with other government enforcement agencies to ensure security in ports amid the continuing terror threat.

    The PPA said it has deployed 32 brand-new baggage and walk-thru metal scanners in key ports to facilitate the movement of baggage and passengers. It has also directed all port managers to mobilize emergency response teams to ensure smooth operations in all PPA-controlled ports.

    The PPA also reiterated its earlier 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.

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