MCIA still on heightened alert

EVEN after the Holy Week rush, the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will continue to be on heightened alert.

“We heightened the (security) alert after Brussels, but we’re already on heightened alert because of Holy Week,” said Nigel Paul Villarete, Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) general manager in an interview on Sunday.

On March 22, explosions rocked the Brussels airport and Maalbeek Metro Station in Belgium, killing 31 people and leaving hundreds wounded.

“(We will) continue our heightened alert and heighten it further. We are asking our people to be more vigilant,” he added.

Heightening security measures include increased visibility of uniformed personnel and a stricter and stringent screening of passengers, baggage, hand-carried items and vehicles. This would entail longer time for inspections to ensure safety and security of the flying public.

In light of the Brussels attack, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said last week that public security remains to be a government priority and that it is tightening existing security protocols in every point of entry into the country.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) earlier confirmed that no Filipino in Belgium was hurt during the terror attacks.

In another development, Villarete said the security fence of the airport will be replaced with a “better” and “more sophisticated” one, and will be installed with CCTVs. He did not specify, however, when the replacement works will start.

Within the year, MCIAA will also be repaving the runway, he announced.

Villarete hopes that the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) proposal stretching from Cebu City to MCIA will be strongly supported by the local government unit of Lapu-Lapu City.

The idea was first raised by the MCIA Board to the Provincial Development Council (PDC) of Cebu.

During the RDC 7 meeting in December, the development council formally endorsed to the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) the conduct of a feasibility study for the second BRT.

To date, the MyBus of Metro Rapid Transit System Inc. holds a special franchising permit to operate from Parkmall to MCIA for its seven buses.

“It seems that the people in Cebu are not interested (for BRT). I’m not really optimistic that that will be materialized,” said Villarete.

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