MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has placed its districts, stations, and sub-stations on heightened alert to manage the anticipated influx of port passengers during the Lenten week from March 28 to April 3, and the summer vacation period.
In a statement on Friday, PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia said he has ordered the deployment of additional K9 units, medical teams, and deployable response groups on major seaports to increase Coast Guard visibility, manage port passengers and oversee maritime traffic.
“PCG personnel shall also aid the provision of additional terminal facilities for passenger comfort while ensuring the readiness of contingency plans for emergency responses,” Ursabia said.
Due to the prevailing threat of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), health protocols, as well as the proper wearing of face masks and face shields shall be strictly observed on board passenger ships and other water conveyances.
The Coast Guard Commandant said he has also directed the placement of additional harbor patrollers and vessel inspectors to enforce maritime security and maritime safety measures, in coordination with local government units and other concerned agencies.
This aims to establish and maintain systematized operations of sea transport facilities; safe and convenient travel of the riding public; as well as the health, safety, and security of local tourists in beaches, island resorts, and other coastal vacation spots.
The PCG shall also necessitate the 24/7 availability of a sufficient number of lifeguards, rescue equipment, and first aid facilities in major tourist destinations, the agency said.
Help desks in port terminals will also be activated to extend further assistance to the riding public.
“Leisure and tourism travel outside the ‘NCR Plus Bubble’ may not be allowed during the Lenten season, but we prepare for the expected increase in the number of local tourists after the two-week intensified border control in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal,” Ursabia said.
“Rest assured we will guarantee their safety, security, reliability, and comfort by safeguarding the seaworthiness of passenger vessels and other watercraft, as well as recreational equipment, platforms, and facilities,” he added.
The PCG urged the riding public to coordinate with the Coast Guard Public Affairs at 0927-560-7729 for inquiries, concerns, and clarifications regarding sea travel protocols and regulations.