The Philippine National Police has established more than 4,500 police assistance desks/centers nationwide as part of “Oplan Ligtas Sumvac 2019.’’
PNP spokesperson, Col. Bernard Banac said that as of Wednesday, a total of 4,548 PADs are currently manned by 25,723 police personnel in order to ensure safe travel of motorists and commuters for the summer months and the Lenten season.
Banac said the PNP is encouraging the public to observe precautions especially while travelling to various destinations.
The safety tips were also given to travelers and tourists taking public transportation, as well as visiting churches, beaches and resorts.
For those who are travelling using their own cars, always follow these tips:
Plan your drive, drive your plan. Run the BLOWBAGETS checklist (Battery, Light, Oil, Water, Brakes, Air, Gas, Engine, Tires and Self); Install Smartphone apps that can be useful in planning a road trip by selecting the shortest and safest route; and identifying motorist assistance points, rest stops and location of police outposts.
Vehicle documents such as Certificate of Registration, Official Receipt as well as the driver’s license should be kept inside the vehicle in case of emergency and checkpoint;
See to it that the driver had enough rest and in good condition before going on a long drive; and Keep calm while driving and always obey the traffic rules and speed limits.
For travelers using bus terminals, airports and seaports:
Arrive early in terminals, sea and air ports when travelling with the elderly and children; secure your tickets and passports; avoid wearing expensive pieces of jewelry;
Look after your belongings and constantly check them; be alert against snatchers; and
If possible, travel light.
For those who are leaving their homes during vacation:
Don’t let many people know you are leaving your home unattended; Make sure house doors are locked; Make sure that appliances are unplugged; and as much as possible, use burglar alarms or install CCTV.
The PNP is urging the public to invest on high-security lock mechanisms to secure their houses and ask some force multipliers in the barangay (village) to check their houses from time to time.
In using social media:
Do not share flight information such as clear picture of your passport and flight details, if you must share, at least wait until you returned home from the trip.
Keep your plans to yourself or your family and make meet ups private; and do not post information of your trip real time, this may indicate that there is nobody inside your residences. You might have to delay posting your pictures/videos if you want to safeguard your belongings.
The PNP also encourages the public to be careful while swimming in beaches and swimming pools to avoid drowning.
“If you plan to swim on a beach, you have to make sure that you are in the company of people who know how to swim and know the first aid station in the vicinity as well as the PNP assistance desk,” Banac added.
He said the PNP encourages the public to provide the police with relevant and timely information through social media (Twitter @pnppio and @pnphotline or PNP official Facebook page) and Isumbong Mo Kay OCA text line at 0917-8475757.
Meanwhile, the Metro Manila Development Authority will be visiting transport terminals in the metropolis to subject bus drivers to an alcohol test using a breathe analyzer as part of the government measures to ensure safety of the commuting public this Holy Week break.
Those who will fail the random on-the-spot alcohol test would not be allowed to drive unless they take a rest, agency officials said.
The MMDA will implement the security measures in anticipation of an expected increase in the number of motorists and passengers headed for the provinces.
Under the “Oplan Metro Alalay Senama Santa,” more than 1,600 traffic personnel will be deployed from April 17 until April 22 on major thoroughfares, major transport hubs, and key areas in the metropolis to ensure the safe and smooth flow of vehicular traffic during the observance of the Holy Week.
Roy Taguinod, MMDA Traffic Discipline Office Director for Enforcement, said a “no day-off and no absent” policy will be enforced among the traffic enforcers on Holy Wednesday and Thursday as well as on Easter Sunday and Monday.
“Traffic personnel will be fielded on traffic chokepoint areas in Metro Manila such as vicinity of bus terminals, roads leading to seaports, harbors, and airports; and major churches,” said Taguinod.
Ahead of the deployment, Taguinod met with traffic sector heads on Thursday and ordered them to monitor and ensure that traffic enforcers do not abandon their respective posts, especially during rush hours.
Simultaneous sidewalk clearing operations against illegal vendors will also be conducted this week within the vicinity of major churches where devotees make their Holy Week pilgrimage.
The agency is also in close coordination with the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) for the deployment of additional passenger buses under the “Alalay sa MRT” bus augmentation program.
The MMDA has started the program but more passenger buses are to be given special permits to ferry commuters once the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 stopped its operation next week.
The MRT 3 announced it shall not have commercial operations from April 15 to 21 as the train system will have its general maintenance shutdown for the Holy Week.
In other developments, the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) said they are expecting traffic volume in the major thoroughfare to increase by 10 percent to 15 percent due to the Holy Week exodus.
“Our projection for NLEX is 10 percent increase but this can go as high as 15 percent,” NLEX Corp. president and general manager Luigi Bautista said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
“Last year, we have 250,000 average daily entries but there is a particular day, Holy Wednesday, when we hit 330,000 vehicles entries. So we’re in fact ready to accommodate up to 15 percent.
This Lenten break, the Metro Pacific Tollways Corporation (MPTC), the parent company of NLEX Corp. is implementing its annual “Safe Trip Mo Sagot Ko” Motorists Assistance Program on the NLEX, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and the Manila-Cavite Expressway (CAVITEx).
Around 700 tellers and patrol officers will be deployed at the NLEX and SCTEX to enhance traffic management and toll collection services.
The traffic management teams of NLEX and SCTEX will adopt extended working hours from April 15 to 22 to monitor and manage the expected high volume of vehicles in Balintawak, Mindanao Avenue, Bocaue,
Tarlac, San Miguel, and Tipo toll plazas.
Toll plazas of both expressways will increase toll collection points by as much as 50 percent during rush hours on the said dates. Portable booths and toll collection equipment will be utilized to lessen the waiting times of motorists at the toll plazas.
The CAVITEx will also deploy more traffic patrol officers and security personnel to manage traffic and assist motorists.
Road works at the NLEX, SCTEX and CAVITEx will be suspended from April 12 to 22.
The MPTC and its partners will also set up motorist camps and provide free calls, Wi-Fi, drinking water, basic mechanic services and first aid treatment in designated locations.
A 24-hour towing service will also be provided for Class 1 vehicles from April 17, 6 a.m. to April 22, 6 a.m. The MPTC is a subsidiary of the Metro Pacific Investment Corporation which have interests in the tollways business.
In a related development, the Metro Pacific Tollways Corp. on Thursday also announced that it would conduct capacity expansion projects to improve travel convenience in the North Luzon Expressway [NLEx], South Luzon Expressway [SLEx] and Cavite Expressway [CavitEx].
At a news conference in Quezon City, MNTC president Rodrigo Franco said NLEx’s harbor link segment 10 C3-R10 section would be completed by December to boost transport logistics to allow cargo trucks to have direct access from Port Area to the provinces in North Luzon and vice versa via NLEx.
To address the increasing traffic volume at SCTEx, additional toll lanes would be put up in its exit and entry points.
The MPTC management said they are committed to complete the construction of Bambang Interchange linking SCTEx to New Clark City “in time for the country’s hosting of the Southeast Asian Games 2019” on Nov. 30 to Dec. 11.
Franco said at the eight-kilometer NLEx segment 7 or the Subic Freeport Expressway [SFEx], two new expressway lanes would be added to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles going in and out of the Subic Bay Freeport.
Bulacan shall benefit from various infrastructure projects this year due to a road network expansion project along NLEx connecting to the national roads, he added.
Motorists to and from the National Capital Region and Central and Northern Luzon now have a prime pit stop on the southbound of NLEx in Canumay, Valenzuela City, the first expressway service owned by NLEx Ventures Corp., a subsidiary of NLEx Corp.
Other improvements include the expansion of Wawa, Paranaque City and Las Pinas City bridges and additional cash lanes at the Paranaque toll plaza at CavitEx to provide better service to the motorists; construction for CavitEx C5 South Link and Cavite-Laguna Expressway [CALAX] to decongest traffic by linking major business districts in Makati City and Taguig City to Paranaque City, Las Pinas City and Cavite.