DOTC launches 'Ligtas Byahe: Kwaresma'

March 28, 2012 12:59 am 

MANILA, March 27 — Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas on Tuesday launched “Ligtas Byahe: Kwaresma” as part of its continuing program to ensure travelers have a convenient, affordable, reliable, and safe travel experience this Lenten season.

To provide the public with the most updated schedules of land, sea and air transport mode during the forthcoming Holy Week, the DOTC developed a micro site — www.ligtasbyahe.org — where all the activities of its attached agencies will be coordinated.

It also created FaceBook (LigtasKwaresma), and twitter (@DOTCPhilippines) accounts, as well as YouTube account, to provide the public with updated travel information and, post their views and travel experiences during the Holy Week.

“As part of our ‘Kayo ang Boss’ advocacy, this micro site will allow us to provide the people with adequate [transport] services so they can observe this annual Lenten season safely with their loved ones,” Roxas said.

“We have also instructed key DOTC agencies, such as LTFRB, PPA, airport authorities and PNR to create their own twitter accounts so they can steadily feed information on matters relating to travel safety through the website,” he added.

Attached agencies under DOTC will have the twitter hashtag #PinoyKwaresma to facilitate public discussion on travel safety.

The micro site will have the following data and visuals:

Schedule of land, air, and sea trips

Advisories on non-operations of LRT and MRT

Philippine National Railway train schedules (Manila-Mayon; Manila-Naga; Manila-Albay)

Relevant news and data about passenger rights and safety

Attached agencies’ preparation for the Holy Week

Videos of inspections by DOTC and its agencies

Similar to previous Oplan Ligtas programs, DOTC is also taking extra measures to ensure passenger safety by thoroughly inspecting every bus, boat or airplane before these depart from bus terminals, stations, seaports or airports.

To accommodate the expected surge in passengers during the Holy Week, the LTFRB also issued some 222, out of 857 applications filed by bus operators. The remaining 635 applications are still under evaluation. There are 7,368 provincial buses travelling daily from various destinations.

“We expect more passengers to travel this Holy Week season compared with the previous year as indicated by historical data we gathered,” Roxas said.

Random drug testing among public utility bus drivers will again be conducted in bus terminals where there is expected heavy passenger volume.

Roxas added that travelers particularly those taking ferries from Batangas to Calapan, Mindoro are expected to increase by 100 percent, while those going home to Visayas and Mindanao passing through the Manila Harbor ports are projected to surge significantly.

To manage the projected increase in traffic volume in major superhighways, the TRB is deploying additional personnel and volunteers in SLEX, NLEX and SCTEX, where an average of 650,000 vehicles pass through every day. Traffic volume in these highways is expected to be up by an average of 30 percent during the Holy Week.

The PNR’s Metro Manila commuter line will be operational during the Holy Week, except on Good Friday.

The Bicol Express Train 611 Manila-Naga will run with maximized haulage on April 4 (Holy Wednesday) to help meet the influx of passengers going to the province and on April 8, 9 and 10 to service passengers returning to Manila.

Extra passenger trains shall be dispatched from Manila to Ligao City, in Albay, on April 4 (Holy Wednesday) and return on April 8, 9 and 10.

Additional security screening personnel will also be deployed and checkpoints will be set up at the four NAIA terminals. There are 200,000 daily passengers at the four terminal and expected to increase by 65,000 during the Holy Week. Security measures in all these airports shall be doubled, especially the screening of bags and cargoes.

The CAAP will also put up help desks manned by action officers from 4-9 April to assist departing passengers. It will intensify security and conduct more visible and frequent security monitoring of all facilities in airports, in cooperation with police forces.

At the Mactan-Cebu International Airport, help desks will be set up at the domestic departure and arrival areas. Additional personnel shall be deployed for the whole duration of Holy Week.

Chance passengers and/or stranded passengers shall be allowed to stay inside the departure area up to the check-in counter to minimize their inconvenience.

At the Clark International Airport, critical areas will be further strengthened, particularly the passenger terminal area. The frequency of roving checks will also be doubled to secure the expected 50 percent increase of passengers.

The OTS will be deploying about 40 K-9 units in all airports, seaports and bus terminals to ensure that no bombs or other deadly weapons will get its way to any public transport vehicle.

The MARINA will also conduct random safety inspection of passenger ships. Monitoring teams will be deployed in identified critical ports, particularly in Batangas; Calapan, Mindoro; Roxas City; Caticlan; Matnog; Cebu; Bohol; Maasin, Leyte. All other ports will be guarded and inspected intensively.

The concerned agencies shall also be checking if there is enough life saving appliances in all public transport vehicles—be it airplane, boat or bus—like life jacket, life rings, firefighting equipment and other emergency devices in case any accident happens during the trip.

Aside from ensuring the public’s safety and security, all the attached agencies will check if the public transport vehicles are clean and convenient for its passengers. All terminals should also have clean and properly working amenities, especially their comfort rooms. (PNA)

lgi/PR/JS/utb

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