By Alexandria San Juan
With the expected influx of passengers traveling to provinces this “Undas” season, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has boosted its Malasakit Help Desks (MHDs) stationed in all transport terminals across the country.
“It is imperative that all our MHDs are properly manned and equipped to address the varied concerns and requests for assistance by the public. There are many Filipinos traveling every Undas and we want to assist them to make their journey more comfortable and convenient,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to the DOTr, Tugade’s directive is in line with the Department’s “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos” Undas 2019,” which will run from October 25 to November 4.
This program aims to provide assistance to thousands of passengers heading home to provinces for the annual observation of All Souls Day and All Saints Day until their return to Metro Manila.
Tugade said that the help desks shall serve as a “one-stop shop” for passenger assistance in all transport hubs in the country including airports, seaports, train stations, and land terminals.
Assistance among MHDs ranges from handling transport-related inquiries, complaints, and requests for assistance such as transport network vehicle service (TNVS) or taxi booking; facilitating refund of terminal fees; providing attestation of cause of trip cancellation or delays; delivering emergency medical assistance; to accepting reports of possible security threats, among others.
Through the help desks, Malasakit Help Kits will also be distributed especially among pregnant women, women with children, the elderly, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
“These kits contain drinks and light snacks, battery-operated fans, face towels, foldable fans, wet wipes, hand sanitizer of permitted volume, and ballpens, among others, that are meant to make travel more comfortable,” the DOTr explained.
Meanwhile, the transportation agency also reminded students from elementary until college levels, including those enrolled in technical and vocational schools, that they are exempted from paying terminal fees in airports operated by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and seaports managed by the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA).
Senior citizens, PWDs, and active uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Philippine National Police, and Philippine Coast Guard are also free from paying terminal fees at seaports under PPA.
While Medal of Valor awardees and their dependents will also have their terminal fees waived at all PPA-operated seaports and at all four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
This year’s Oplang Biyaheng Ayos: Undas will be led by the DOTr and its attached agencies including the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), CAAP, Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), MRT-3, Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA), Philippine National Railways (PNR), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Toll Regulatory Board (TRB), PPA, Cebu Ports Authority (CPA), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and Office for Transportation Security (OTS).