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Coast Guard on alert ahead of Holy Week

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MANILA, Philippines—Stressing the need to ensure safety of sea travel for thousands of Filipinos heading for the provinces to observe the Holy Week, the top commander of the Philippine Coast Guard has placed on “heightened alert” its 11 districts, 70 stations and 274 detachments nationwide.

Vice Adm. Rodolfo Isorena, the PCG commandant, also ordered the deployment of an undisclosed number of covert security and intelligence personnel on passenger ships bound for the Visayas and Mindanao, and K-9 units, as well as emergency response teams and help desks at various ports.

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“Coast Guard personnel are also advised to ensure that all maritime activities are monitored and all PCG personnel and assets are ready to respond to any maritime incident,” he said in a press statement.

Isorena said he has directed PCG personnel to “exercise extra vigilance in ports with random checks on passengers and their luggage.”

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The Coast Guard will “intensify the mandatory pre-departure inspection of interisland vessels to prevent overloading and make sure the ships are seaworthy,” Isorena said, adding, it would also ensure that all ships have an “adequate number of life-saving equipment.”

Cmdr. Armand Balilo, the Coast Guard’s spokesperson, said passenger assistance booths at the ports “will be jointly manned by teams from the Coast Guard, DOTC, Philippine Ports Authority, Maritime Industry Authority, and the PCG Auxiliary in close coordination with the Philippine National Police.”

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TAGS: Holy Week, Philippine Coast Guard, sea travel, Travel
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