Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cebu Ports to buy shuttle buses, patrol craft to improve security, efficiency

Cebu City (2 October) -- Eighteen (18) additional shuttle buses will soon be acquired by the Cebu Ports Authority (CPA) before the year ends as part of their improvement and safety measures for passengers and cargo operations.

CPA deputy general manager Engr. Dennis Villamor said the CPA has three passenger terminals with only five buses which in not sufficient to ferry passengers.

Villamor bared there is a plan for cargo handling operations to be separate from the area services of passengers for efficiency and convenience.

Also in the pipeline for acquisition by the CPA before the end of the year is a patrol craft with a P5M budget allocation already set aside, according to Villamor.

The patrol craft is part of strengthening security measures surrounding the port and will also come in handy in times of assistance needed in sea rescue operations in coordination with the regional offices of the PNP Maritime Office and the Philippine Coast Guard.

Incidence of theft within the CPA compound has also been addressed as those who do not have official business inside the port are not allowed to go inside. The CPA also has long since demolished the informal settlers and eyesore structures within and just outside the port premises, Villamor said.

Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) acting port manager of Tagbilaran City Aurelio Gambuta likewise said they also imposed an access control regulation measure to ensure that nobody can enter the PPA grounds without any legitimate business.

As part of their anti-terror measure, the PPA provides all ports nationwide within their jurisdiction an x-ray machine detector that can spot bomb-making components, Gambuta declared.

The PPA has also allocated an initial P200M for the acquisition of 50 K9 dogs that are used to detect bombs and illegal products brought into the ships. The K9 dogs were made to breed so that ports across the country can have their own special bomb-detecting dogs. In Cebu, there are a total of seven K-9 dogs, this is said.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) - Visayas Command deputy commander Eduardo Fabricante disclosed the PCG Central Office has created the anti-terrorism unit based in Manila and that other coastguard units are also asked to form their own special operations group to respond to terrorism-related incidents or scenarios.

Fabricante however, said security measures must primarily be instituted by the port offices and the ship management in compliance with the International Port Safety Code. (PIA-Cebu/FCR)

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