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Gov’t on heightened alert for Holy Week

Concerned government agencies have been placed on heightened alert to ensure the safety and convenience of travelers and pilgrims during the Holy Week.

As the Lenten exodus has started, the President expects transport and security authorities to deliver “results” on the “proper and efficient” security coordination, according to presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella.

“The government is now on heightened alert to ensure the safety and security of passengers at all airports, seaports, and other transportation hubs during the Holy Week,” Abella said in a statement.

“At the end of the day, the President wants results. Setting things in place, and ensuring proper and efficient functioning and coordination of the agencies, are but the initial steps of the entire process,” he said. “‎Ultimately, his satisfaction can only be measured by the extent that the public’s safety and convenience ‎are facilitated and guaranteed by the government.”

Abella said the government has started to implement “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2017” that includes intensified security preparations in transportation hubs and tourist places.

At least 75,000 policemen have been deployed to protect the public from any harm during the Holy Week and the summer season, Abella said. Additional cops will be deployed to transport terminals, convergence areas, national roads, and tourist destinations.

He said the Manila International Airport Authority would assist the Bureau of Immigration in managing queues at immigration counters to ensure smooth passenger flow. “A two-minute unloading rule is also being implemented to prevent congestion,” he added.

In Cebu, Abella said the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority has created a task force to direct its security and safety operations during Holy Week. “The Airport Police Division was placed on red alert status, and various information and public assistance counters were also opened,” he said.

The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board has issued 1,153 special permits to bus operators to accommodate more passengers, according to Abella. Authorities have also started to inspect the roadworthiness of buses and set up help desk in transport terminals.

The Toll Regulatory Board has deployed additional personnel at toll plazas where traffic build-up is expected. “If toll plaza queuing reaches 500 meters, additional entry/exit lanes, as well as reversible or counter-flow lanes, will be opened,” Abella said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)