Over 57M passengers expected in PH ports as Yuletide exodus begins

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) is expecting more or less 57 million passengers to troop into various seaports across the country on the days leading to the Christmas and New Year.

PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said the figure is 200 percent more than its recorded passenger numbers last year, attributing the doubling of the number of passengers to eased travel restrictions.

Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Jay Santiago

"Aside from the cancellation of all leaves of absence of our personnel, we also alerted all our Port police officers to ensure safe travel of passengers to the dock during the peak season," said Santiago.

On Monday, Santiago met with the leaders of Port Police and discussed security measures that will be implemented for travelers who would take advantage of the Holiday season to celebrate with their family and to go on vacation.

He said the same level of alertness will be implemented for the return of the passengers after the New Year celebration.

Santiago then called on all PPA police officers to focus on their job of securing the passengers and the ports.

"Security is one of the things that the agency monitors most in its daily operations especially this peak season. I won't let it go in case there are people who are doing bad things, even though there are people who lost their way, we should also take care of them. We must always be in the right place," said Santiago.

Aside from the more than 200 Port Police officers wearing body-worn cameras, Santiago said they will be also using closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras 24/7. The use of CCTV is part of the Port Surveillance System (PSS).

Lawyer Diane Steffi T. Guillamon, head of PPA Internal Security Affairs Staff (ISAS), said PSS covers 52 PPA sites nationwide, adding that the system has random viewing of ports and can also be controlled by the operator to verify some reports that have reached PPA management and its other offices.

"Our CCTV system is our eyes in our ports. Through our CCTV, we see the macro of all our ports which is essential in our operations and in responding to security and other adjustments to ensure the safety of our passengers," said Guillamon.