The top official of Philippine Port Authority on Tuesday said port users, particularly passengers traveling by sea, can expect tighter security checks starting this week in all PPA-controlled ports ahead of the summer and Holy Week breaks.
According to PPA General Manager Juan Santa Ana, they are expecting a large number of passengers to flock the ports to take advantage of the break from school and their work.
“A significant number of [foreigners]are also anticipated to arrive and explore the Philippines, making security in ports more than a must at this time,” he said.
PPA, Santa Ana said, is determining possible flaws before the bulk of passengers starts massing up at the different ports nationwide this weekend.
Security procedures include maximum utilization of walk-through and baggage X-ray machines and walk-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 are also installed for immediate assistance to passengers.
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 made.
The port authority is asking 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 finally retrieved at the port of destination by the owner.
Vessel operators are encouraged to assist in information dissemination in case they stop issuance of tickets for whatever reasons and to provide information on when affected passengers can be accommodated in succeeding trips.
Santa Ana reiterated the agency’s earlier directive disallowing selling of additional insurance coverage on top of mandatory insurance cover already embedded in tickets bought by passengers inside port premises.
Among the ports with high concentration of passengers are Batangas Port, a jump-off point to Puerto Galera, Oriental Mindoro, and eventually to Boracay via Caticlan; North Port in Manila, which is considered as the country’s main domestic port; Tagbilaran Port in Bohol, which serves as receiving area for people visiting the famous Panglao Island; Matnog in Sorsogon for those going to the Samar and Leyte provinces; and Dumaguete City, a university center.