More port patrols start today

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Monday, December 23, 2013

MORE police operatives and more frequent patrols are in store in Cebu’s bus and air terminals today, as passengers begin to head home for the Christmas break.

“There will be more frequent patrols on the land side that includes the parking, waiting, arrival and departure areas. We have to increase police visibility to discourage bad elements from committing a crime inside the airport,” said Senior Supt. Constantino Barrot, regional director of the Police Aviation Security office of the Philippine National Police.

Oplan Ligtas Biyahe-Christmas 2013, led by the transportation and communication agency, is under more pressure to deliver this year, after the murder of a mayor and three others right outside Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) last week.

Cebu North Bus Terminal General Manager Zosimo Jumao-as Jr. also assured passengers bound for northern towns that there will be enough buses to bring them home.

Working like a dog

Vicente Dejoras Jr., administrator of the Cebu South Bus Terminal, said that 12 policemen from the Cebu Provincial Police Office will help them keep the terminal orderly despite the large crowds.

Dejoras said there are also 30 security guards and a trained dog that will be positioned in different areas of the terminal.

In the south terminal, Dejoras has canceled his request to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to temporarily lift the suspension of 10 Ceres bus units operated by Vallacar Transit Corp.

Ceres bus operators have told Dejoras they would apply for special permits to field additional buses during the peak season.

The LTFRB 7 has suspended 10 of the company’s buses, following a road accident in Badian that killed the driver’s wife and daughter, and injured 32 other passengers.

Dejoras said he expects the bulk of the passengers to head for the terminal today and tomorrow, and appealed for their patience.

Be patient

“Passengers should be patient if buses arrive later than expected because that is beyond the terminal management’s control,” Dejoras said.

In Mandaue, the Police Station 2 sent four police operatives to secure the passengers coming in and out of the terminal.

Only one police officer is assigned to the terminal on regular days, but more are needed early this week to deal with the expected travel rush.

Jumao-as said that bus operators have prepared for the situation and assigned additional buses to deal with the large crowds. Daily trips will continue tomorrow and on Christmas Day, he added.

Oplan Ligtas Biyahe is implemented by DOTC agencies such as the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, Cebu Port Authority, Office of Transportation Security, LTFRB, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The LTO 7, under Director Arnel Tancinco, will put up help desks at the Cebu South Bus Terminal and the Cebu North Bus Terminal, and deploy enforcers along various highways to ensure that bus drivers neither overload their vehicles nor overcharge passengers.

Christmas is usually a busy time at the aiports, but this year, authorities face extra pressure to ensure the passengers' safety after a daring ambush right outside the NAIA Terminal 3 arrivals area last Friday.

Labangan Mayor Ukol Talumpa and his wife had just arrived from Zamboanga del Sur to spend the holidays in the capital, when they were shot.

A Sun.Star Network Exchange report said that Talumpa had survived two other assassination attempts in recent years.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 23, 2013.

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