MANILA -- Public and private sector groups are now busy to give adequate assistance to travelers for the Holy Week celebration.

The Philippine Coast Guard said it has set up passenger assistance centers to anticipate the volume of passengers who will flock sea ports nationwide from March 29 to April 14.

Coast Guard commandant Admiral Wilfredo Tamayo said in radio interview that they have set hotlines and text lines to accommodate concerns from passengers.

Tamayo said the Coast Guard has set up landlines and text lines the public can use to send in their tips. The landlines include 5278481 and 5273877. The text line is 0917-7243682.

For its part, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said it will implement “Oplan Bantay-Lakbay 2010” to ensure the peaceful observance of the Holy Week and the rest of the summer vacation.

PNP Chief Director General Jesus Versoza has activated “Oplan Sumvac,” the nationwide security plan that aims to ensure the safe and secure travel of motorists and commuters in air, sea and land transportation.

“Oplan Bantay Lakbay involves mandatory security at airports, seaports, and bus terminals to guard against criminal and terrorist elements that may take advantage of the holiday rush,” PNP spokesman Leonardo Espina told Sun.Star.

The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) meanwhile will suspend the Unified Vehicular Volume Reduction Program (UVVRP) or number coding scheme starting Tuesday in anticipation of the volume of passengers.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in the meantime was placed under a heightened alert to ensure a fire safety observance of the Holy Week.

Interior and Local Government Undersecretary for Public Safety Marius Corpus said he has already ordered BFP Director Rolando Bandilla Jr. to direct all regional and district directors and provincial and municipal fire marshals to implement their fire safety and inspection plans in their respective areas.

The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) will provide first aid assistance and ambulance service on major roads for the Holy Week.

“All PNRC Chapters are enjoined to be on standby 24/7 on Holy Week to provide first aid and medical assistance to possible road accidents that may occur,” PRC Secretary Gwendolyn Pang said in a statement.

The PRC Safety Services Department will also put up tents, help desks and first aid stations along major highways and gas stations during Holy Week for immediate response in case of road accidents. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)