Photo from Cebu Port Authority
Photo from Cebu Port Authority

Half a million passengers pass through Cebu ports

THE Cebu Port Authority (CPA) catered to more than half a million passengers during its 10-day implementation of “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos,” from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5, 2023.

During the Kalag-kalag holidays (All Souls’ Day and All Saints’ Day celebration) and Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE), the CPA recorded 543,555 passengers at various seaports, marking a 128.56 percent increase from their 2022 “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos” operation which had 237,817 passengers.

The port authority attributed the increase to the BSKE held last Oct. 30, which prompted an earlier start in the implementation of the ports’ heightened alert status.

The port authority, however, reported that despite exceeding half a million passengers, there were no reported untoward incidents by their port safety and security teams.

Mary Knoll Lagu-Bolasa, CPA information officer, said that of the total number of passengers served, 275,958 passengers arrived in Cebu, while the remaining 267,597 passengers left Cebu Island from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5.

During Oplan Biyaheng Ayos, all seaports in Cebu were on a heightened alert status to ensure the safety and security of passengers during this peak season.

The CPA had previously said they expected passenger traffic to exceed 500,000, surpassing last year’s 237,817 passengers during the same season.

Bolasa, in an interview with SunStar Cebu on Monday, Nov. 6, attributed the increased passenger traffic to the BSKE.

“We were on heightened alert status until Nov. 5. We anticipated a consistently high number of daily passengers for the duration of Oplan Biyaheng Ayos,” she said.

In 2022, intensified passenger monitoring began on Oct. 28 and lasted until Nov. 4, two days shorter than the implementation this year.

According to data provided by Bolasa to SunStar Cebu, the CPA recorded a total of 51,963 passengers on Oct. 27.

Subsequent days saw the following passenger counts: 71,157 on Oct. 28; 71,603 on Oct. 29; 50,192 on Oct. 30; 45,939 on Oct. 31; 34,444 on Nov. 1; 51,230 on Nov. 2; 44,709 on Nov. 3; 57,230 on Nov. 4, and 64,578 on Nov. 5.

Bolasa said they still expect several returning passengers in the coming days, with all ports to return to normal operations with safety and security measures in place.

Lucio Lim, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Lite Ferries, reported that his company had served more passengers than during typical long weekend crowds in the past.

Lim said they transported more passengers and vehicles during the Kalag-kalag season, reducing the carriage of cargo trucks.

Jose Emery “Joy” Roble, president and CEO of Roble Shipping Inc., said on Nov. 2 that while he was in China during the period, he had not received any reports of interruptions in their operations.

Roble had to reschedule the inauguration of their newest and largest passenger vessel to accommodate the influx of traveling passengers during the BSKE and Kalag-kalag celebrations.

They introduced the almost- a-thousand-seater mv Immaculate Stars, traversing the Cebu City-Hilongos route last Oct. 18, which was supposed to be introduced at a later date.

Bolasa mentioned that with Oplan Biyaheng Ayos for Kalag-kalag now completed, they would prepare for another surge of traveling passengers during the holiday season, including Christmas and New Year celebrations from December into early next year.

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