Alert status raised for All Saints' break-A A +A
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
SEVERAL government agencies raised Tuesday their alert status to provide efficient assistance and service to the public this All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day.
Malacanang also assured that security preparations have all been in place to ensure peaceful and orderly observance of the coming holidays.
The Operations Center of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) will be on red alert status until November 5 to serve as a center for information and communications relevant to the holidays.
The Department of Health has placed hospitals on white alert status in anticipation of the influx of people needing medical assistance. Staff and personnel from government hospitals will also be on duty during the holidays.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) will not be raising its alert status for the holidays but assured that it will be intensifying its intelligence operations to support the Philippine National Police (PNP).
The AFP will also monitor the existence of extremist and other lawless groups and undertake prompt anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism measures in coordination with the police.
For its part, the PNP will establish route safety marshals for motorists and assistance hubs in all cemeteries and in all land, sea and air transport terminals.
The PNP placed its regional offices in Luzon and Visayas on heightened alert while those in Mindanao are on full alert.
But in an earlier interview over state-run dzRB radio, PNP chief Director General Nicanor Bartolome said the country's entire police force will be on full alert starting today, October 30, including all of its field and operational support units.
Bartolome added that the full alert status will last until November 5 when citizens are expected to return from the provinces.
The PNP will also be monitoring tourist destinations such as resorts, as families are expected to take vacations during the long weekend after the All Saints' Day.
The Department of Interior and Local Government, for its part, directed local chief executives to deploy village authorities who would act as force multipliers and assist the PNP.
Security measures in bus terminals, ports and airports will be heightened as early as October 31 as volume of commuters is expected to rise.
Several private companies have declared half-day on October 31.
Malacanang, meanwhile, reiterated that October 31 will not be declared as a holiday or even a half-day.
There is no confirmation yet whether President Benigno Aquino III will lead an inspection of major bus terminals, seaports and airports in the metro on Thursday.
Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte earlier said Malacanang will not release the schedule on when President Aquino will pay his respect to his deceased parents, former President Corazon and her husband, the late Senator Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino.
“Let us give the President and his family time to say their prayers in private,” she said.
Number coding suspended
Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has suspended the number coding scheme for authorized public utility provincial buses in the metropolis on October 30 and 31.
The said traffic control scheme or the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) was lifted as MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino ensured that there would be enough public utility buses to serve the commuters.
The MMDA also considered the ongoing major road and bridge repair works in various locations in the provinces of Quezon and Nueva Vizcaya, which are prolonging travel time of buses entering and exiting Metro Manila.
However, the UVVRP will still be implemented for private vehicles and other public utility vehicles for Tuesday and Wednesday.
But on November 1 and 2, the number coding scheme for all vehicles will be lifted in Metro Manila, including in the cities of Makati and Las Pinas, as announced earlier by the MMDA.
The MMDA earlier said about 8,000 to 10,000 traffic and law enforcers will be deployed during the holidays to man the streets of the metropolis.
"The public is assured that the MMDA shall strictly monitor and supervise traffic flow particularly in identified choke points to ensure the unhampered mobility of vehicles and pedestrians during Undas," Tolentino said.
The agency added there will be a no day-off, no-absent policy for some of its personnel including traffic enforcers, metro aides, and sidewalk cleaning operatives.
Some MMDA personnel will also serve as medical and emergency teams, traffic and public assistants, and cemetery cleaners.
For instance, several MMDA personnel are already deployed at the Araneta Center Bus Terminal where the volume of passengers is expected to rise as the holidays near.
The agency also set up a mobile metrobase with closed-circuit television cameras to ensure the security of the public. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Jill Beltran/Sunnex)