MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday said it has placed its operating units on heightened alert for the long weekend in line with the observance of Undas.
In a statement, PCG commandant Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya said PCG units will be on heightened alert from Oct. 29 to Nov. 3 as port passengers are expected to increase over the weekend to visit their families in the provinces.
Fully vaccinated local tourists are also expected to flock to tourist destinations that are now slowly re-opening, following the reported lower cases of COVID-19 infection in the country.
“Coast Guard Districts conduct 24/7 operations to monitor nautical highways routes, especially in the Visayas where the majority of tourist destinations are now revamping local tourism,” Laroya said.
“I have directed concerned units to ensure maritime security and safety in our western and eastern seaboards, as well as inter-island routes. Our deployable response groups, with the PCG Auxiliary, are all-set for these operations,” he added.
The PCG said western seaboard monitoring includes Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Aklan, Iloilo, and Zamboanga region.
Eastern seaboard monitoring, on the other hand, covers Manila, Bicol region, Samar, Leyte, and Surigao provinces.
“We have maritime safety inspectors in port terminals, law enforcement teams in strategic locations, maritime patrol teams in critical vicinity waters, and deployable response groups on standby for possible search and rescue missions,” Laroya said.
The PCG also reminded port passengers and local tourists to remain vigilant on the upcoming holiday to avoid untoward incidents.
“For the part of the general public, we encourage everyone to carefully check the existing ordinances of their destination as LGUs have different documentary and testing requirements,” Laroya said.
“Aside from securing their QR code or S-PASS, they also need to prepare their vaccination cards, antigen test, or RT-PCR test. To avoid inconvenience, it is best to consider these reminders beforehand,” he added.
The PCG said it will further intensify operations with the Philippine Ports Authority and the Maritime Industry Authority, specifically in implementing the 50% maximum capacity of passenger vessels to ensure the observance of physical distancing. This is on top of comprehensive vessel safety and security inspections on board.
Its units will also conduct foot patrol in major tourist destinations to continuously remind local tourists to comply with minimum health standards.
“As much as we all want to finally recover from the negative impacts of the global pandemic, we are hoping that the general public will be more patient in complying with stricter measures in ports and tourist destinations for, at the end of the day, these regulations are in place to uphold their health and safety,” Laroya said.