DOTC launches ‘Oplan Ligtas Byahe’

Rainier Allan Ronda - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) launched yesterday “Oplan Ligtas Byahe: Undas 2012” to ensure orderly and convenient travel for motorists and commuters spending All Saints’ and All Souls’ days in the provinces. Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the program means continuous work for his men while the whole nation goes on a break.          

“As in the previous year, DOTC in cooperation with its 20 attached agencies are ensuring that our people can have safe and convenient sea, land and air travel during this season,” Abaya said.          

As part of the program, Abaya checked the ongoing rehabilitation and preparations being made at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1 and 3. Airport personnel will tighten security measures starting this weekend when the expected exodus to the provinces begin.            

“I’m satisfied with what I have seen today and I’m confident that our air travelers will have the convenience and ease in reaching their destinations,” Abaya said. 

The DOTC chief said the Oplan would run from Oct. 26 to Nov. 5, with help desks set up in airports, seaports, bus terminals and major roads nationwide.
The Office of Transportation Security (OTS) will deploy K9 units in airports, seaports and bus terminals to prevent any act of terrorism, and deadly weapons from getting into the public vehicles. 

The DOTC reactivated its micro site www.ligtasbyahe.org where all the activities of its attached agencies will be coordinated, and its Facebook (LigtasKwaresma), Twitter (@DOTCPhilippines), and YouTube accounts for the public to check travel information and post their views.       

The Land Transportation Office (LTO), in coordination with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), will conduct random drug testing for public utility bus drivers in terminals starting Monday.  Since early this month, the LTFRB has been accepting requests for special permits for out-of-line trips for Metro Manila and provincial buses to cater to the expected huge turnout of passengers.                                     

 LTFRB chairman James Jacob said of 423 applications for special trips, they have already granted 60 permits. He said the number of special permits is expected to go up before All Saints’ Day as they are still evaluating other applications. These permits will be used from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4.     

LTFRB and LTO agents will inspect bus terminals in Quezon City, Pasay and Manila and check the roadworthiness of public utility buses.            

Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) executive director Edmund Reyes Jr. said they would ensure the smooth flow of traffic and impose speed limits in all expressways.

Ambulances with Philippine Red Cross personnel would also be deployed in strategic areas of the highway.

Security will be stepped up in all Metro and Light Rail Transit stations.

Ambulances will be deployed at the MRT North Avenue and Shaw Blvd. stations, while special attention will be given to the LRT-R. Papa station where a huge crowd heading for the nearby North and Chinese cemeteries is expected to turn up.   

Instead of the usual three trips, the Philippine National Railways (PNR) will raise to four the number of trains for its Manila-Ligao and Manila-Naga, and vice versa routes from Oct. 29 to Nov. 1.

It will also set up help desks manned by nurses at its stations in Tutuban, Pasay, España, Biñan, Calamba, Laguna, and Naga City. Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Jose Angel Honrado said airline companies would open their check-in counters at least three hours before the scheduled flight to avoid delay and congestion at the airport.       

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Marina will activate its Passenger Assistance Center (PAC) booths and will conduct safety inspections in all seaports and terminals.  Marina officer-in-charge Nicasio Conti assured passengers there would be enough vessels to get them to their destinations.     

PCG commandant and officer-in-charge Rear Admiral Luis Tuason Jr. said they would deploy sea marshals in all major ports to respond to emergency cases. 

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) finalized yesterday its traffic and contingency management plans for the holidays as it called on local government units (LGUs) to implement their own traffic and parking schemes around cemeteries as early as possible.       

MMDA chairman Francis Tolentino held a command conference with representatives of LGUs, cemetery administrators and officials from the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) to discuss preparations for Undas.   Tolentino said although the MMDA and the LGUs are already prepared for the observance of All Saints’ and All Souls’ days, traffic and parking problems are still expected to crop up. “We at the MMDA start our ‘Oplan Kaluluwa’ today (Oct. 26),” he said. – With Mike Frialde, Non Alquitran, Dino Balabo, Ric Sapnu











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