By CHRISTIAN WAKEFIELD, Reporter
STARTING today, all ports in the Visayas will be placed on heightened alert as the Philippine Coast Guard launches the “Oplan Semana Santa” in preparation for the exodus to the provinces.
Help desks and assistance booths will be placed in the various ports in the Visayas starting Sunday as authorities anticipate a huge crowd going to the provinces considering that Monday has been declared a holiday.
The help desks will be manned by representatives from the Coast Guard, the Maritime Industry Authority, the Philippine Ports Authority, and local authorities to ensure a smooth port operations during the Holy Week.
The declared of a heightened alert came after the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) ordered the Philippine Coast Guard to tighten security and activate its regional monitoring for the Holy Week exodus.
DOTC Undersecretary and spokesman Thompson Lantion said “Oplan Semana Santa” should be fully operational by April 6, when the Holy Week starts.
He said DOTC Secretary Leandro Mendoza also ordered all DOTC regional monitoring centers to be activated nationwide. The DOTC expects the bulk of the yearly Holy Week exodus to the provinces to start next weekend.
Lantion also ordered the Coast Guard to watch out particularly for overloading, especially involving vessels with outriggers.