Kalag-kalag travelers crowd Cebu ports, bus terminals

By Benjie Talisic, Nestle L. Semilla, Norman V. Mendoza, Silliman Intern Julien Marie Piñero |October 30,2017 - 08:23 PM

Hundreds of passengers have started crowding Pier 1 in Cebu City on Monday.
(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Travelers have started crowding Cebu ports and bus terminals on Monday, a day before the start of the two-day special nonworking holiday in celebration of the All Saints’ and All Souls’ Days.

Ensign John Manuel Alip, deputy commander of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Cebu Station, estimated the travelers who left and arrived at the ports of Cebu yesterday to have reached at least 50,000.

The average number of travelers was estimated only at 19,000 per day last week.

“We deployed additional personnel at the port areas. We are also tapped the help of the Coast Guard Auxiliary in securing ports all over Cebu (province),” Alip said.

Alip said they started to implement their full alert status on October 26 to especially discourage overloading. This is expected to continue until November 6.

He said that they are also getting help from the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Maritime Police.

“Mas strict na ang Coast Guard sa mga overloading. Kung ano lang ang capacity ng barko according to the Marina Certificate they have, strictly yun lang ang susundin natin (The Coast Guard is now strict against overloading. We implement the allowable number of passengers provided for in the vessel’s Marina Certificate),” Alip said.

Alip is also appealing to travelers to refrain from taking unregistered sea vessels to their destinations for their own safety.

The management of the North Bus Terminal located in Mandaue City said they were expecting around 30,000 passengers on Monday. But the bulk of the travelers were expected at nighttime since most of them were still at work during the day.

Lydia Evangelista, 58, was among those who crowded the terminal on Monday afternoon.

Evangelista, who is staying with relatives in Minglanilla town, south Cebu, was on her way home to Barangay Tindog in Medellin town located around 116 kilometers north of Cebu City.

She said that she did not have to wait long to get a ride because of the availability of buses at the terminal.

Nemesio Lumapac, NBT supervisor, said that Vallacar Transit Inc. alone deployed 250 Ceres buses to ferry northbound travelers during the Kalag-kalag celebration.

To ensure the safety of their passengers, they also deployed 24 security personnel to work on two shifts per day and made sure that the terminal’s 12 CCTVs are functional.

Personnel from Mandaue City Police Office’s (MCPO’s) Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) also man a police assistance desk at the terminal.

The Central Visayas offices of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also set up help desks at the terminal to especially discourage drivers against overloading.

At the Cebu South Bus Terminal (CSBT), the management is asking commuters to refrain from carrying with them alcoholic beverages, bladed weapons and butanes to facilitate their immediate access into the terminal located along Natalio Bacalso Avenue in Cebu City.

Terminal Manager Joey Herrera said that prohibited items are confiscated prior to a passenger’s entry at their facility.

Senior Supt. Dennis Agustin, Police Regional Office 7 deputy director for operations, visited the CSBT at 9 a.m. yesterday to personally oversee the implementation of terminal security.

Agustin also led the distribution of leaflets on how to achieve a safe travel and how to ensure safety while inside cemeteries.

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