In preparation for the influx of passengers during the observance of the Holy Week, Secretary Arthur Tugade ordered the activation of Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2017, and directed all sectoral offices and attached agencies of the Department of Transportation to be on heightened alert to ensure the safety and security of passengers in airports, seaports, and other transportation hubs during the said season.
Secretary Tugade likewise enjoined all frontline agencies to Implement a 24/7 operations for their Action / Operations Centers and ensure direct communication lines with the DOTr Public Concerns Action Center. Further, he instructed the same to ensure that all booths / counters / centers serving passengers are properly manned during all operating hours to prevent heavy queueing.
Road Safety and Public Assistance
The Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will conduct an inspection of buses as part of ensuring the road worthiness of vehicles and safety of the passengers. They will also put up Help Desks at terminals.
Further, LTFRB issued 1,153 special permits to bus operators to accommodate the increase number of passengers.
The Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) will deploy additional personnel at toll plazas where traffic build-up is expected. If toll plaza queuing reaches 500 meters, reversible and additional entry or exit lanes will be opened and vehicular counter flow may be facilitated. Emergency medical teams, water trucks, and tow trucks will be deployed for prompt response in case of road crashes and accidents.
Further, all road works and construction activities in expressways, except ongoing major road infrastructure projects, will be suspended from April 12 – 17.
Reducing Airport Congestion
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) committed to assist the Bureau of Immigration in managing queues at immigration counters. Passengers who are about to board and those with connecting flights will be prioritized to avoid missed flights.
An MIAA Management Team will be on duty from April 8 – 16 to ensure smooth passenger flow. A 2-minute unloading rule will also be implemented to prevent congestion.
Passengers will be given free bottled water at NAIA boarding gates. They may also seek assistance from Help Desks manned by MIAA Operations group, airport police and medical team.
The Mactan Cebu Interantional Airport Authority (MCIAA) also created a Task Force to direct and supervise security and safety operations during Holy Week. The Airport Police Division will be placed on red alert status, information and public assistance counters will be activated, taxi complaint slips will be distributed to cab passengers, and convenience of passengers will be ensured at all times.
Sec. Tugade directed the Office for Transportation Security (OTS) to fully man all x-rays at the initial and final cehcks.
Nationwide Inspection of Passenger Ships
The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) will conduct a nationwide random inspection of passenger ships from April 07 – 17 to ensure that applicable rules and regulations are complied with, particularly the “No Overloading of Passengers and Cargoes” Policy. MARINA will also ensure strict security protocols are being enforced.
The Philippine Ports Authority also directed its port managers, cargo handling operators, and passenger terminal building operators to ensure maximum security, safety, and convenience of passengers. Passengers will be strictly screened while ship agents are required to regularly update ship arrival and departure schedules. First aid services will be made available in ports on a 24/7 schedule.
Yearly Maintenance Works
All three metro rail systems --- LRT 1, LRT 2, and MRT 3 --- will have no operations from April 13 – 16 to make way for yearly maintenance work. Operations will resume on April 17, Monday.