Coast Guard on ‘red alert’ for Undas

MANILA As part of its preparation for the influx of passengers this Undas, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Monday declared a nationwide red alert until the safe return of commuters following the religious holidays.

In a statement, PCG commandant Vice Admiral Joel Garcia said the PCG has been on red alert status since Saturday (Oct. 26) until Nov. 5 to help ease, if not eliminate, congestion in passenger ports and to help preserve security in the country's waters.

Through consolidated efforts with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the Office of Transportation Security, Garcia said every port in the country have been deployed with Malasakit Help Desk (MHD) supported by K9 units, the PCG Special Operations Group, safety inspectors, doctors, nurses, and civil relations personnel.

[This is] to ensure that the public service needed by the travelers are addressed by the PCG to keep their travel safe, secure and comfortable, Garcia said.

Moreover, the PCG chief said the unified efforts of the four maritime and security agencies were based on the instruction of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade of a one resource, one government approach.

According to Garcia, Tugade reminded the PCG to ensure proper enforcement against overcrowding and overloading to avoid any accidents from occurring during the Undas rush.

Aside from its responsibilities in securing nationwide maritime transportation, Garcia said the PCG has been tasked to secure other transportation infrastructures such as bridges.

He said the PCG is also focused on the maritime security front in Mindanao against lawless elements like the Islamic State (ISIS) and the Abu Sayyaf Group.

[We anticipate] lawless elements like ISIS and the Abu Sayyaf will take advantage during the lull and mass movement of people during this season, Garcia said.

In case of emergencies or any concerns relating to maritime security, Garcia said the public may contact the PCG at +63917-724-3682.

On Thursday, the DOTr announced the rollout of MHDs in all transportation hubs across the country such as bus terminals, airports, train stations, and passenger ports.

The Malasakit Help Kits containing snacks, bottled water, tissues, towels, hand sanitizers, and hand fans will also be distributed through these MHDs aside from providing other basic services such assistance to PWDs, emergency medical assistance, and answering transportation-related queries. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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