By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has introduced new guidelines to facilitate the movement of goods and people to and from the ports while maintaining a high-level of COVID-19 safety and security initiatives.
On Friday, the PPA imposed another safety and security layer to make its ports COVID-19 free.
The PPA now requires all persons transacting with the agency to accomplish an entry form to determine their movement in the last 7 days.
The protocol will enhance the ‘contact tracing’ mechanism if and when a person in the port community is tested positive with COVID-19, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago explained.
As of Friday last week, PPA said that the port community nationwide has remained COVID-19 free. “We are working hard to maintain that level,” he added.
“We are putting this protocol in place to trace the movement of any person who entered any of our facilities if ever that person tested positive for COVID-19.”
Except for the ports under the Luzon area, which were affected by the Enhanced Community Quarantine, all other ports are in full commercial operations.
Latest data showed that approximately 82 per cent of port operations were concentrated for cargo movement while only 28 per cent were dedicated to the passage sector. These ports registered about 493 shipcalls, with 206 recorded as full commercial operations.
PPA has likewise issued a marching order to all its Port Management Offices nationwide to make sure that no arbitrary charges are imposed by any port stakeholder and service provider while the entire nation is under the ECQ and General Community Quarantine.
Meanwhile, in compliance with the directive of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to remit in advance its dividend to help the National Government in its fight against COVID-19, the PPA remitted more than ₱4 billion in total dividend.
Since 2016, PPA has remitted a total of ₱12.6 billion in dividends: ₱1.9 billion for 2016, ₱3.1 billion for 2017, ₱3.5 billion for 2018, and ₱4 billion for 2019.