Heightened alert status up for SY 2022-2023, says PH Coast Guard
MANILA, Philippines — Heightened alert status has been declared by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to ensure the safety of students going to school through maritime transport facilities.
The PCG on Tuesday said that the Oplan Balik Eskwela 2022 implementation will be from August 15 to 29. The upcoming school year will kick off on August 22.
According to PCG Admiral Artemio Abu, there will be 24/7 operations of Department of Transportation Malasakit Help Desks (MHDs) “in major ports, harbors, and other maritime transport facilities where heavy influx of passengers is expected due to the resumption of classes.”
A medical team will head MHDs to provide first aid and assistance for sea passengers, and they shall provide meals to stranded passengers, report possible threats to public safety, and assist in booking road transport services.
“Our Coast Guard Districts will also deploy additional K9 teams and security personnel to intensify vessel safety checks and pre-departure inspections to ensure convenient, safe, and secure sea transport services,” Abu said in a statement.
“We will also conduct 24/7 maritime patrol operations to avoid ‘colorum’ or undocumented watercraft from operating as they are more prone to maritime accidents,” he continued.
Abu added that coast guard districts will be in charge of reminding vessel crew and passengers about observing safety protocols amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
He directed the Coast Guard Fleet and the Coast Guard Aviation Force to deploy vessels and air assets for maritime surveillance over major sea lanes in the country.
“We call on the riding public to comply with stricter inspection of baggage and support the implementation of additional security layers in ports and passenger terminals to prevent hostile elements from perpetrating terrorist acts,” the coast guard commandant said.
PCG Districts have also assembled deployable groups for immediate dispatch during emergencies like maritime accidents and typhoons that will occur to promote the safety of lives and properties.
The PCG will be in coordination with the Philippine Ports Authority and the Cebu Ports Authority for the 24/7 operations of MHDs, and with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police to maintain security and safety in transport services. Andy Hoo, INQUIRER.net trainee
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