By Argyll Geducos
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said that it has now optimized its units in all ports nationwide in preparation for the influx of passengers for the holiday season and the upcoming tropical storm.
PCG officer-in-charge Commodore Joel Garcia said the office is now monitoring the arrival of passengers in major ports including Manila, Batangas, and Matnog.
“We optimize the presence of coast guard units such as the search and rescue teams, and canine units because of the terrorism perspective. And of course the special operations group in the event that there will be untoward incident in ports and at sea,” he said.
PCG said under the Oplan Ligtas Biyahe: Krismas 2016, holiday passengers in all ports nationwide are expected to reach at 87,698 as of 12 p.m., Thursday.
Warning to passengers
With tropical storm Nock-ten expected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) Thursday evening or Friday morning, Garcia warned passengers to take caution and reconsider their travel, especially in Visayas and Mindanao.
“That’s individual analysis based on our advisory because they have to plan. Kasi iba-ibang tao, kanya-kanya silang plano (these people have different plans) on how they should spend their holidays,” he said.
As of press time, all vessels are allowed to sail but PCG will definitely suspend sea travel in areas where the PAGASA will be raising a storm signal warning number.
In its Thursday morning bulletin, PAGASA placed the location of ‘Nock-ten’ at 1,380 kilometers east of Mindanao and continues to move west northwest toward Luzon at 23 kilometers per hour.
Major ports affected, according to Garcia, will be the ports of Matnog in Sorsogon and Allen in Samar. Ports in Albay and Catanduanes in the Bicol region, Burias Island in Masbate, Batangas, and Mindoro would most likely be affected as well.