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Coast Guard on alert starting today

THE Philippine Coast Guard-Cebu Station will be on red alert status starting today in anticipation of the influx of passengers who will travel to provinces for the observance of the Holy Week.

The different attached agencies of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) will put up passengers assistance centers or help desks in the different ports as part of the government’s “Oplan Ligtas Byahe: Kwaresma 2013.”

Cebu Coast Guard station commander Weniel Azcuna said he had already instructed all the 13 coast guard detachments in Cebu, which includes Mandaue City, Danao City, Argao, Bato Samboan, Tangil in Dumanjug, Toledo City, Tabuelan, Hagnaya in San Remegio, Sta. Fe in Bantayan Island, Camotes Island, among others, to implement the Oplan Ligtas Byahe.

The help desks will also have medical teams from the Coast Guard and Philippine Red Cross, Azcuna said.

He said all personnel should report to office and all their leaves of absences are recalled.

Because of the expected influx of passengers going to Bantayan Island, he said, at least 10 personnel will be deployed in Hagnaya as reinforcement and another 10 personnel in Sta Fe port.

Tighter security will be implemented in major ports where K9 dogs are deployed.

Azcuna said the Coast Guard has 2 rescue vessels in case of emergency while members of the Special Operations Group (SOG) are on standby.

Azcuna said the surge of passengers are expected to start on Friday./CORRESPONDENTS JHUNNEX NAPALLCAN AND JOY CHERRY S. QUITO

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