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PCG, PNP on full alert, ask drivers to check ‘Blowbag’


11:32 PM April 18th, 2011

By: Jeannette I. Andrade, April 18th, 2011 11:32 PM

MANILA, Philippines—Aside from providing security to travelers during Holy Week, policemen will also be acting as mechanics—checking the condition of passenger buses in gasoline stations located on major routes leading to the provinces.

At the same time, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), which is also on full alert just like the Philippine National Police (PNP) has started implementing security measures to ensure the safety of people at seaports.

Speaking at the Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel forum on Monday, PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the police, in coordination with the Land Transportation Office and other civic groups, had started inspecting public utility buses (PUBs) to ensure that passengers would reach their destinations safely.

According to Cruz, the PNP has assigned some of its men to man public assistance desks at gasoline stations to remind PUB drivers and motorists to keep the acronym “Blowbag” in mind to prevent road accidents.

Blowbag stands for brakes, lights, oil, water, battery, air, and gasoline.

PCG spokesperson Cmdr. Armand Balilo, meanwhile, urged the public not to ride in “colorum” inter-island motorized boats which operate without a franchise.

“They do not have the proper safety equipment and they tend to overload because they do not undergo inspections [conducted by] the Philippine Ports Authority or the Coast Guard,” Balilo pointed out.

He also reminded commuters not to insist on boarding sea vessels if these are already full to avert any mishap due to overloading.

Balilo said the implementation of the sea marshal system had been helpful in ensuring the safety of boat passengers.

“Apart from making a strong impact [on] giving the riding public the assurance that they will be safe, [the marshals] have been useful in providing reports [on] what is really happening during the voyages,” he explained.

He added that the PCG had been implementing several layers of security in seaports, including installing an X-Ray machine in every pier to detect sharp objects and combustible items.

On top of this, police dogs have also been deployed to detect noxious substances, including liquefied petroleum gas which could lead to a fire breaking out on board a ship.

Cruz, meanwhile, said he had proposed a mandatory or voluntary drug testing for PUB drivers who go on long trips although this would have to be approved by Congress.

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