Getting ready: PCG now on heightened alert for Holy Week 2021

Published March 26, 2021, 12:00 PM

by Richa Noriega

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday, March 26, placed all its units on a heightened alert to manage the influx of port passengers in time for this year’s observance of the Holy Week.

PCG Commandant Adm. George Ursabia Jr. ordered the deployment of additional K9 units, medical teams, and deployable response groups (DRGs) in major seaports to implement security measures in all ports ahead of Palm Sunday on March 28 up to Easter Sunday on April 4.

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“We call on our ‘kababayans’ to comply with the stringent protocols in port terminals, inside vessels, and during their stay in recreational areas as their individual contributions in curbing the spread of COVID-19,” Ursabia said in a statement.

Ursabia also directed the placement of additional harbor patrollers and vessel inspectors to enforce maritime security and maritime safety measures, in coordination with local government units and other concerned agencies.

“This is intended to establish and maintain systematized operations of sea transport facilities, safe and convenient travel of the riding public, as well as the health, safety, and security of local tourists in beaches, island resorts, and other coastal vacation spots,” he added.

Ursabia said Coast Guard personnel will also necessitate the 24/7 availability of sufficient number of lifeguards, rescue equipment, and first aid facilities in major tourist destinations.

“Leisure and tourism travel outside the ‘NCR Plus Bubble’ may not be allowed during the Lenten season, but we prepare for the expected increase in the number of local tourists after the two-week intensified border control in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal,” the commandant said.

“Rest assured we will guarantee their safety, security, reliability, and comfort by safeguarding the seaworthiness of passenger vessels and other watercraft, as well as recreational equipment, platforms, and facilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo said Coast Guard personnel will further extend assistance to the passengers.

“Together with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) and Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), the PCG shall address and resolve travel and/or health-related issues and complaints that may arise amid the operation of ‘Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa & Summer Vacation 2021,’” Balilo said.

For concerns and clarifications about sea travel protocols and regulations during Holy week, the passengers are encouraged to coordinate with the Coast Guard Public Affairs through its hotline: 0927-560-7729.