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Coast Guard on heightened alert for Undas travelers at ports

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Coast Guard on heightened alert for Undas travelers at ports
Philippine Coast Guard will have conduct 24/7 operations to “monitor nautical highway routes, especially in the Visayas where the majority of tourist destinations are now revamping local tourism.”
The STAR / Krizjohn Rosales, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard is on heightened alert status for the expected increase in passengers coming home for Undas and travelers heading to tourist destinations this weekend.

Vice Admiral Leopoldo Laroya, PCG commandant, said in a statement on Wednesday that Coast Guard districts will conduct 24/7 operations to "monitor nautical highway routes, especially in the Visayas where the majority of tourist destinations are now revamping local tourism."

"I have directed concerned units to ensure maritime security and safety in our western and eastern seaboards, as well as inter-island routes. Our deployable response groups, with the PCG Auxiliary, are all-set for these operations," Laroya added.

PCG said its western seaboard monitoring will cover Batangas, Occidental Mindoro, Aklan, Iloilo and the Zamboanga region while ports in Manila, Bicol region, Samar, Leyte and Surigao provinces will be part of eastern seaboard monitoring.

The Philippines improved to low-risk classification for COVID-19 earlier this week, as COVID-19 infections return to numbers before the surge due to Delta variant. With this, curbs are expected to be eased and more tourist destinations are looking to reopen for travelers.

Laroya added: "We have maritime safety inspectors in terminals, law enforcement teams in strategic locations, maritime patrol teams in critical vicinity waters and deployable response groups on standby for possible search and rescue missions."

The Coast Guard also reminded passengers to review existing protocols and requirements for their destinations.

The government has ordered cemeteries and columbaria closed for Undas for the second year in a row, due to the risk of the coronavirus.

The PCG said it will also intensify operations with the Philippine Ports Authority and the Maritime Industry Authority, for security inspections on board and enforcing the 50% maximum capacity of passenger vessels.

PCG units will also conduct foot patrols at major tourist destinations to ensure that health protocols are observed. — Kristine Joy Patag

COVID-19 PHILIPPINE COAST GUARD UNDAS
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