Over 1.4 million passengers are expected to flock to ports under the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) this year, with PPA ordering a “no leave policy” to ensure that facilities are ready to cater to the needs of the public.
The policy was issued through a memorandum dated Oct. 23 and will begin on Wednesday until Nov. 8.
In a statement, PPA General Manager Jay Santiago said the policy is due to the PPA’s responsibility to ensure that sea travel “remains convenient, safe, and responsive” especially during the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections (BSKE) and ‘Undas’.
The PPA is expecting 1,422,406 passengers from Oct. 27 to Nov. 5 this year, 6 percent higher compared to the same period in 2022.
The increase, he said, is due to the continued relaxing of travel requirements after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The influx of maritime passengers, he said, is expected to begin on Oct. 28, and noted that the ports with the highest passengers recorded last year were the ports in Iloilo, Batangas, Babak Port in Davao, Dumangas Port in Panay Island, and the ports in Negros Occidental.
The PPA has also heightened security measures at ports under its 25 Port Management Offices nationwide.
“These measures include strict security, 24/7 CCTV monitoring, and K9 dogs roving at port vicinity and passenger luggage aside from the x-ray machines and body scanners that passengers must pass through,” he said.
To ensure smooth and easy travel, he advised the public to plan their trips ahead of time and to check the schedule of shipping lines before going to their local port.
He called on the public to check the PPA’s social media pages for the latest updates on maritime travel or to inquire via the PPA hotline at (02) 8711-2360, available 24/7 for any port-related questions and concerns. (PNA)