The Cebu Port Authority (CPA) has convened all port management officers, port security heads, representatives of the maritime and enforcement partners from Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine Navy, Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA), Bureau of Customs (BOC), Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine National Police (PNP) – Regional Maritime Unit, Office for Transportation Security (OTS), other agency partners and port stakeholders on Thursday 25 March 2021 to finalize all preparations for the anticipated surge of passengers during the observance of the Holy Week.
“As the government continues to ease travel restrictions, we are working closely with our partner agencies and port stakeholders to double our efforts in ensuring the safety, security, order and convenience of the public and prevent overcrowding and heavy queuing inside our ports especially with the ongoing threat of COVID-19,” said Cebu Port Authority (CPA) General Manager Leonilo Miole.
GM Miole ordered the activation of Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2021 and placed all ports in Cebu under heightened alert to step up all security and safety measures in response to the directive issued by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade.
GM Miole also urged the public anew to strictly observe and follow the safety and health protocols within the port premises at all times and encouraged all outbound passengers to coordinate in advance with their receiving local government units (LGUs) or with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) for the travel requirements they need to comply before coming to the port area.
“There have been cases that passengers booked their tickets online without prior coordination with the receiving LGU, and sad to say, they were not given clearance to board a vessel by the PCG and were denied entry into the port for failure to present the required travel documents,” said GM Miole.
For receiving LGUs with no imposed travel requirements, all passengers are encouraged to book their tickets in advance.
Starting March 29, 2021 to April 6, 2021, CPA will deploy additional Safe Distancing Marshals and Port Police Officers in ports with high passenger traffic to enforce port health and safety protocols such as the mandatory wearing of face shield and face masks, temperature check and physical/social distancing. Appropriate markers were placed on the floors and seats for proper guidance.
For added prevention and safety measures, disinfecting foot baths were placed at the entrance and exits of the passenger terminals and offices. Likewise, sanitizing hand rub dispensers and lavatories for hand washing are placed in prominent places of the passenger terminal.
Persons who refuse to comply with any directives of the Authority and other law enforcement agents inside the port premises are sanctioned with fines and penalties.
Fines ranging from P200 to P1,000 await individuals who are caught violating health and safety protocols. First-time offenders will be asked to pay a fine of P200, P500 will be imposed on second-time violators and P1, 000 will be imposed for the third offense.
In accordance with the COVID-19 Inter-Agency Task Force and Department of Health (DOH) protocols, passenger capacity in ships and other passenger vessels are still reduced to fifty percent (50%). Likewise, passenger terminals in both public or private ports shall only be allowed to accommodate at fifty percent (50%) seating capacity and to prevent undue queuing or crowding of passengers, CPA in close coordination with shipping companies will make necessary adjustments of the Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) of vessels. Direct boarding of passengers to the vessel shall be allowed as may be deemed necessary in order to avoid crowding, inconvenience, or delay of the vessel’s departure provided that security, safety, and health protocols shall be observed.
Any person manifesting noticeable common symptoms of an infectious disease shall be urgently placed in the designated port isolation area and shall be referred to the Cebu City Government Emergency Operation Center (EOC) or nearest health and medical facilities.
GM Miole also assured all port users that daily disinfection activities are being conducted in all Port Passenger Terminal Buildings, port entry and exit points, shuttle buses and all other areas within the port that are highly exposed to passenger traffic.
Cebu Port Pier 1 and Pier 3 gates are still closed for vehicles as it now serves as screening stations of PCG personnel for outbound/embarking passengers.
Further, all ports were directed to ensure that all booths / counters / centers serving passengers are properly manned during operating hours. Passenger Help Desks are also put in place to provide passenger assistance and support for a wide range of travel needs.
The public were also urged to report individuals who are selling fake RT-PCR Test Results to passengers outside the port area, this after the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) 7 conducted an entrapment operation last March 18, 2021 which led to the arrest of two individuals for selling these falsified documents.
Passengers can lodge their concerns, complaints and reports to CPA Police Operations Center at (032) 402-4160 or via CPA Official Facebook Page @cebuportauthorityofficial.