The Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT) is on heightened alert status to ensure safe travels of motorists during the holidays.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) announced it is gearing up for the expected increase in volume of air passengers in 42 commercial airports nationwide, five days before Christmas.
“This Christmas Rush, I-ACT and various government agencies will work together to ensure the order and safety of our road-users and public transportation infrastructure,” the panel stated.
“I-ACT has been on heightened alert status with the implementation of Oplan Byaheng Ayos Pasko 2022. About 200 Task Force personnel are currently deployed in various parts of Metro Manila where the number of road users increase,” it added.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board issued special permits to more than 700 bus units to cope with the usual surge of passengers during the holiday season.
The Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) alone serves more than 68,000 passengers per day, and may hit 140,000 in the following days.
On Monday, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority and the Department of Transportation, as well as the various transportation and law enforcement agencies conducted inspections at various transportation hubs.
Random vehicle and drug testing were also conducted at various terminals in Manila to ensure that the public utility vehicles are road-worthy and the drivers do their duties without the influence of illegal drugs.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said his department and its attached agencies have deployed full complement of personnel for ease of travel of the riding public.
“As you head to your reunions and parties, we hope we have sufficiently addressed your travel needs from buses to modern jeeps, from airplanes to trains, from sea vessels to private cars,” he said.
Bautista said the 24-7 Libreng Sakay at EDSA Carousel for the whole month of December offers convenient transport for late-night shoppers and more workers on their way home.
CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said the agency has coordinated with airline operators and concerned government offices operating at the airports, including the Office of Transportation Security (OTS) and the Police Aviation Security Group to augment additional personnel in anticipation of expected surge in passenger traffic this holiday break.
Under the directives of Director General Captain Manuel Antonio Tamayo, all Area Center Managers of CAAP have been instructed to make sure that the passenger terminal buildings (PTB) under their jurisdiction will be able to accommodate the influx of passengers.
Apolonio said Tamayo’s directive encompasses the provision of enough chairs, baggage carts, operational escalators, and clean toilets inside the arrival and pre-departure areas and sufficient lights for parking areas and access roads within the airport.
Coordination between the CAAP Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS), the PNP Aviation, and OTS have also been made to ensure that airport terminals are ready for crowd control.
Additionally, Malasakit Help Desks are also stationed at the terminals to assist and provide information for passengers.
“We enjoin our airport managers and staff to be fully prepared to receive and send off passengers and to also be ready in case of flight delays. Let us take care of our passengers. Let us provide a convenient, safe, and secure travel experience this holiday season,” Tamayo said.
With the resumption of commercial flights at Loakan (Baguio) Airport and Borongan Airport, the additional international flights to and from South Korea at Kalibo International Airport, and the easing of travel restrictions nationwide, passenger volume is expected to increase even more especially during the holiday season.
Before the pandemic, CAAP-operated airports served 29,258,258 passengers with passenger volume reaching 2,537,774 in the month of December.
From January to November 2022 alone, CAAP-operated airports have already catered to around 18 million passengers.