Cebu News

CPA, Cebu Province on heightened alert

Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon, Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman
CPA, Cebu Province on heightened alert
People line up to buy tickets at the pier area in Cebu City for their trip to the provinces to cast their votes in the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections tomorrow and spend the holidays with their families.
Joy Torrejos

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) is all set for the activation of Oplan Biyaheng Ayos starting October 27, 2023 until November 5, 2023 expecting a high influx of passengers as more travelers are expected to return to their respective provinces for the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and Undas 2023.

All ports in Cebu will be on heightened alert status over the 10-day period of the Oplan Biyaheng Ayos to ensure the safety and security of all passengers who will be travelling to their home provinces or cities through the ports for the long weekend.

“As early as the start of October, we have already coordinated with our partners from Cebu's Maritime Sector and enforcement agencies in preparation for the expected surge of passengers ahead of the Barangay and SK Elections and Undas 2023,” said CPA General Manager Francisco C. Comendador III.

CPA already started deploying additional port security personnel to all ports in Cebu to ensure a secured, reliable, convenient, and uninterrupted port operations.

For the duration of the Oplan Biyaheng Ayos, passenger traffic is expected to exceed 500,000 surpassing last year’s average of 30,000 passengers daily and totaling to approximately 250,000 for the entire Undas 2022.

This is due to the long weekend brought by the upcoming BSKE, and the declaration of special working and school arrangements for government offices and public schools respectively from Malacañan that more travelers are expected as they return to their respective provinces to vote, pay respect to their dead loved ones as well as vacation.

The Office of the President (OP) released on Friday a memorandum circular, allowing work from home arrangement for government employees and asynchronous classes for public schools on Tuesday, October 31.

“In order to provide government employees full opportunity to properly observe All Saints’ Day on 01 November 2023, and to allow them to travel to and from the different regions in the country, work from home arrangement in government offices shall be implemented, and asynchronous classes in public schools shall be conducted on 31 October 2023,” Memorandum Circular No. 38 signed by Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin stated.

The same memo also states that “a similar arrangement for work in private companies and classes in private schools is left to the discretion of their respective heads.

However, government agencies whose functions involve the delivery of basic and health services, preparedness/ response to disasters and calamities, and/or the performance of other vital services, will continue with their usual operations and render the necessary services in person.

Comendador also reminded the public to book their tickets in advance to avoid heavy queuing outside the port area where most ticketing outlets are located and to avoid being taken advantage of by scalpers who resale boat tickets at inflated prices.

Only passengers with boat tickets and valid Identification Cards (IDs) shall be allowed entry into the port at least (2) hours from the scheduled departure time. CPA will strictly impose the “No boat ticket, No ID, No Entry Policy”.

Malasakit Help Desks (MHDs) and first-aid stations will also be activated in passenger terminals to attend to various passenger concerns.

All port management offices were directed to ensure that all booths / counters / centers serving passengers are properly manned during operating hours.

Partners from Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) will also conduct random inspection and K9 sweeping as part of the intensified campaign to interdict drug couriers passing through seaports.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will also deploy Bomb Sniffing Dogs in port areas and Passenger Terminal Buildings (PTBs).

“Rest assured that we are doing our best to help ensure that we have a safe and peaceful elections and observance of Undas 2023 in the ports of Cebu,” Commendador said, in a statement.

Meanwhile, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said the Cebu Provincial Police Office is now on full alert status in preparation for the upcoming twin events.

In an interview with the media during her inspection at the Cebu South Bus Terminal on October 27, Garcia noted that the PNP is on full alert status by now in order to secure the entire Cebu Island, as more people are expected to come home to the provinces to troop to the voting precincts and the cemeteries this long weekend.

In a post by Sugbo News, the official Facebook page of the provincial government, said that governor was echoing the report of Police Colonel Percival Zorilla, director of the CPPO, who said that the peace and order situation in Cebu is manageable, as additional forces from the Philippine Coast Guard, Joint Task Group Cebu, and other security agencies have been deployed to the LGUs.

Meanwhile, in anticipation of the travel rush, the governor also reported that CSBT has already installed brand-new air-conditioning units as part of its facilities upgrading efforts.

Comfort rooms inside the terminal have also been upgraded and its use by the commuting public free of charge. These have been done in preparation for the travel rush as more passengers converge at CSBT for their long weekend plans.

The Sugbo Sentro inside the Terminal will also soon have air-conditioning units to give its diners a comfortable experience. — (FREEMAN)

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