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Lenten season in the Philippines

Agencies ensure safe travel for Holy Week

Lenten season in the Philippines
Lenten season in the Philippines

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – With an increased number of travelers expected in the coming days due to the annual observance of Holy Week, the Department of Transportation and Communications has launched Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Semana Santa 2016 last March 18 to ensure the safety and reliability of various modes of transportation.
All transportation agencies have been mandated to implement heightened security measures at terminals, which include the deployment of additional personnel in airports, sea ports, bus terminals, and highways. Public assistance desks, first-aid stations, additional seats, and charging stations, have been set up to address passenger needs and emergencies.
More frequent inspections will be done on aircrafts, ships, and buses to make sure that they comply with safety standards. Random drug and alcohol testing will also be done.
Air travel
The Manila International Airport Authority has instructed airline companies to deploy more personnel at check-in counters for efficient processing, shortening queues. Travelers are reminded not to bring prohibited items to the airport and to stow all belongings in one’s carry-on baggage for faster processing at the screening checkpoints.
The Civil Aeronautics Board reminds airlines to abide by the policies under the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, which sets out the minimum obligations of airlines to their passengers in case of any untoward incidents in relation to their flights.
Land travel
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has issued special permits for 832 additional provincial buses in order to meet the expected boost in passenger demand.
The Toll Regulatory Board reminds expressway operators to strictly implement traffic rules and regulations in order to avoid any unfavorable incidents. Roving teams will be deployed in areas where stoning incidents and vandalism of right-of-way fences occur, and for fast response to motorist emergencies.
Point-to-point bus services will be suspended from March 24 to 27 to give way to preventive maintenance works, while airport bus services will continue to run during Holy Week with the exception of March 25 (Good Friday).
The Light Rail Transit Line 1, Line 2, and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 operations will be suspended from March 24 to 27 to allow heavy maintenance works. Operations will resume on March 28. The Philippine National Railways will likewise suspend stop operations from March 24 to 26, but will resume on March 27.
Sea travel
Maritime agencies will be conducting rigorous security checks at port facilities and of passenger ships prior to their scheduled departures. The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will continue patrolling the seas and be on standby for rescue operations, if necessary.
The department reminds all travelers to be cautious and alert in order to minimize accidents, and to abide by all safety rules and regulations, which will be strictly implemented by law enforcement agencies.

Criselda Cabangon David, a happy mother of two kids, is a full-time Sociologist at the City Government of Lucena, Quezon Province. She is currently the Managing Editor of Ang Diaryo Natin Sunday News, a weekly local community newspaper in the Philippines and an active member of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.