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Transport hubs on heightened alert



Secretary Arthur Tugade of the Department of Transportation (DoTr) yesterday reiterated his directive to heighten security in all air and sea ports as well as railways and all road transport hubs.

Tugade issued his order in the wake of the Basilan bombing that killed at least 11 people and which was carried out with a van packed with explosives.

The transport chief directed attached and line agencies of the DoTr to issue alert protocols in dealing with emergencies.

He emphasized the need for greater vigilance in implementing safety and security measures in public facilities within the purview of DoTr.

No compromise

“We should not compromise nor take for granted the safety and security in our surroundings, people and facilities. Issue alert and security protocols,” Tugade ordered.

In response, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general Capt. Jim Sydiongco said security alert and protocols have been heightened in all CAAP areas of responsibility.

Office for Transportation Security (OTS) Administrator Undersecretary Art Evangelista has, likewise, directed all OTS personnel to enhance their current security measures and to implement their respective security, contingency plans and manuals.

“They are further advised to coordinate with appropriate law enforcement units and assume vigilance until aforesaid threat is assessed to have subsided,” Evangelista said.

Vigilance assured

Philippine Coast Guard Commandant Elson Hermogino likewise reported that “security alert and advisories have already been issued to all PCG units.”

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Manny Gonzales said that concerned agencies under the DoTr Road Sector have been directed to be vigilant and to “institute appropriate security measures to deter any threat to personnel and government facilities.”

Philippine National Railways General Manager Junn Magno, meanwhile, said PNR has doubled its security personnel on passenger choke points. He said all stations and train security personnel have been alerted.

Checkpoint blast

Philippine Ports Authority General Manager Jay Santiago, MARINA Administrator Rey Leonardo Guerrero and Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal said they have heightened security measures in all ports and terminals and alerted personnel on the ground.

Eleven people were killed when powerful homemade bombs inside a van exploded early Tuesday at a security checkpoint in Lamitan, Basilan.

“We mourn with the families of those who were killed. We must all work together to make sure this will not happen again,” Tugade said.