Ports on alert as 1.4M passengers take break
MANILA -Ferry ports will be busier in the coming days due to the holidays, with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) projecting a 6-percent passenger volume growth.
In a statement, the PPA said 1.4 million passengers were expected to pass through the local ports from Oct. 25 to Nov. 8, more than the 1.3 million passengers it recorded in the same period last year.
The port regulator noted the terminals of Iloilo, Batangas, Batak, Dumangas and Negros Occidental would have the heaviest passenger traffic.
During the break due to the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan polls and the Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 holidays, the PPA is implementing a “no leave” policy among its staff to ensure that passengers are given ample assistance.
Security alert is also heightened in ports for the safety of passengers.
“As the lead agency in the passenger operation of PPA-managed ports nationwide, we have a huge responsibility in ensuring that sea travel of the public … remains to be convenient, safe and responsive to their needs,” PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said.
The PPA is scheduled to inspect Batangas port today, Oct. 26.
For the rest of the year, the port regulator is also expecting to receive 40,000 cruise ship passengers. Among the cruise companies deploying ships to the country are the Norwegian Cruise Line, Holland America Line, SilverSea Cruises, Windstar Cruises and AIDA Cruises.
Since the resumption of cruise tourism in February and up to September, local ports have already served 46,657 passengers.
The PPA seeks to develop more terminals for cruise ships in Palawan, Siargao, Camiguin, Boracay and Puerto Galera. In March, the PPA inaugurated the P267-million terminal at the Port of Coron, which handles Coron-Manila trips five times a week.
The Department of Transportation is also planning to spend about P1.4 billion to build and expand roll-on/roll-off ports across the country.
Last year, passenger traffic grew by 156 percent to 59.07 million from 23.08 million in 2021. The return of cruise ships is expected to drive passenger volume by as much as 25 percent in 2023.