Philippine Coast Guard says on heightened alert for #SemanaSanta2022

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 07 2022 04:19 PM

A volunteer cleans the premises of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine in Bulacan on March 31, 2022 as Holy Week nears. The shrine is maintained regularly with visitors expected to flock to the area for Holy Week due to the eased COVID-19 quarantine protocols. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
A volunteer cleans the premises of the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto Shrine in Bulacan on March 31, 2022 as Holy Week nears. The shrine is maintained regularly with visitors expected to flock to the area for Holy Week due to the eased COVID-19 quarantine protocols. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will be on heightened alert when the country observes Holy Week as authorities expect an influx of domestic travelers, its spokesperson said Thursday.

PCG's districts, stations, and sub-stations will be on high alert starting Monday, April 11, until Easter Sunday, April 17, said PCG spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo.

"Si [Admiral Artemio Abu] ay nagbigay na rin ng direktiba... na dapat zero ang maritime incident ngayong Semana Santa. Organisado, malinis, at secure ang mga kababayan nating makakapag-travel ngayong Lenten Season," Balilo said in a public briefing. 

(The admiral already gave a directive that no maritime incident should be recorded this Holy Week. We plan for an organized, secured, and clean travel for our fellow Filipinos.)

Abu recently directed placing additional harbor patrollers and vessel inspectors to ensure maritime safety and security for the period, as well as to prepare for tourist-related activities during the hot season, an earlier statement showed. 

Aside from this, the Coast Guard said it would also make lifeguards, rescue equipment, and first aid facilities available 24 hours daily in major tourist destinations. 

"This is intended to establish and maintain systematized operations of sea transport facilities; safe and convenient travel of the riding public; as well as the health, safety, and security of local tourists in beaches, island resorts, and other coastal vacation spots," it said.

The PCG spokesperson, meanwhile, urged beaches and travel destinations on the coastline to have life guards readied and coordinate with local government units for any untoward incident. 

The Department of Transportation had already inspected terminal and ports in preparation for more Filipino passengers traveling on seas, said Balilo.

"Pagkatapos, magda-downgrade tayo [after the Holy Week]. Pero ang bottomline... continued vigilance para sa ating mga units, lalong-lalo na sa mga nasa frontlines, tulad ng mga nagmamando ng mga beach resort," he added. 

(After that, we will downgrade. But the bottomline is we will continue being vigilant most especially those in the beaches.)

Catholics are expected to flock to churches during the Holy Week due to relaxed pandemic restrictions. 

Metro Manila and nearly 200 other areas nationwide are under the loosest of 5 pandemic alert levels until April 15. Alert Level 1 allows full on-site capacity for all activities. 

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Video from PTV