Government agencies gear up for All Saints', All Souls' Day-A A +A
Thursday, October 25, 2012
VARIOUS government agencies have commenced their preparations for the observance of this year's All Saints' and All Souls' Day as citizens are expected to head back to the provinces starting this weekend.
The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has launched the "Oplan Ligtas Byahe: Undas 2012" to ensure safe and efficient travel experience for passengers.
The Oplan Ligtas Byahe will run starting October 26 until November 5.
"This is the time of the year that the Filipino people return to their hometowns to pay homage and remember their departed loved ones. As in the previous year, DOTC, in cooperation with its attached agencies, is ensuring that our people can have safe and convenient sea, land and air travel during this season," said Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya.
Abaya said he already made rounds at the Terminals 1 and 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and expressed satisfaction with the preparations being made.
According to DOTC data, airports that should expect a surge of passenger volume, aside from Metro Manila, are Cebu, Davao, Bacolod, Iloilo, General Santos, Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, Tacloban, Tagbilaran, Laoag, Cagayan de Oro, and Kalibo.
The DOTC said help desks and public assistance counters will be set up in NAIA and in other major gateways in the country, including in the Cebu-Mactan and Clark airports.
To avoid flight delays, airline companies will open their check-in counters at least three hours before the scheduled trip, according to NAIA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado.
He added that the Coordinated Arrival System of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines will also help minimize flight delays.
Special bus permits
On land travel, the DOTC said bus terminals with a high level of passenger traffic would include those in Araneta Center-Cubao, Edsa-Kamuning, Pasay, and Sampaloc in Manila.
The agency added that the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has started accepting requests for special permit for out-of-line trips for Metro Manila and provincial buses to address the expected increase in volume of passengers.
Lawyer James Jacob, LTFRB chairman, said they have issued 60 out of 423 applications filed by bus operators, adding that the number of special permits is expected to go up before next week's holidays as they are still evaluating other applications.
There are currently 7,368 provincial buses travelling daily from various destinations. The special permits will be used from October 30 to November 4.
The LTRFB and law enforcement agencies will also intensify the campaign against colorum vehicles.
Authorities from the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office will also inspect bus terminals in Metro Manila to ensure the buses' roadworthiness and the passengers' safety and convenience.
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) also guaranteed that there will be smooth flow of traffic in all toll highways around the country.
Ambulances in strategic points and personnel from the Philippine Red Cross will also be deployed in the highways, according to Edmund Reyes Jr., the agency's executive director.
He said the speed limit in all the toll highways will be strictly implemented. Ambulant cashiers will also be deployed to ensure efficient toll gates.
On rail, the DOTC said there will be no disruption in the services of the Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit systems. Security will be heightened and ambulances will be deployed in train stations.
For the Philippine National Railways, the number of trains for its Manila-Ligao and Manila-Naga and vice versa routes will be raised to four from October 29 to November 1.
Safe sea travel
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) will also employ measures to ensure safe sea travel for passengers, such as the installation of assistance centers and conducting inspections in all seaports and terminals.
Lawyer Nic Conti, Marina officer-in-charge administrator, assured that there will be sufficient number of vessels that will cater the higher volume of passengers.
Authorities will also conduct thorough inspection of the proper storage of cargo inside all vessels to prevent sea mishaps.
Conti also ordered the strict implementation of proper security checks for all passengers of Roll-on, Roll-off ships, inspections against overloading, colorum vessels, and abusive vessels imposing higher fares.
Meanwhile, sea marshals will be deployed in all major ports for quick emergency response, according to Rear Admiral Luis Tuason Jr., PCG commandant.
Law enforcers step up
Various law enforcement agencies will also be intensifying their operations to ensure a peaceful and orderly commemoration of next week's holidays.
The Philippine National Police will be deploying about 143,000 personnel nationwide to beef up security, while the National Capital Region Police Office will be having a maximum deployment of police force in the private and public cemeteries in Metro Manila.
The Metro Manila Development Authority will also deploy more than 2,000 personnel who will help facilitating traffic and in assisting citizens.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) will also deploy highly-trained rescuers and medical services teams at the cemeteries, terminals, piers and highways to assist and respond to emergencies.
Ruben Bearis Jr., the BFP officer-in-charge, said firefighters will also assist in keeping safety, peace and order at public cemeteries. They will also be monitoring 24 hours to prevent any untoward incident especially fires. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)