PPA prepares security, VIP lounge for ASEAN meeting

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PPA prepares security, VIP lounge for ASEAN meeting

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The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) Port Management Office in Tagbilaran (PMO-Tagbilaran) will be showcasing its security readiness to members of the National Organizing Council and the Local Organizing Committee for the ASEAN.

Along this, the PPA opens its new and state of the art multi-purpose hall to the third Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) coordination meeting this Monday, March 27 in Bohol’s preparations to host the 2017 ministers and senior officials trade meeting in Panglao set on the third week of April.

PPA Port Manager Engr. James Gantalao, during a press conference last week in time for the ASEAN PIA Information Kiosk launch, said the PPA is not taking any chances when it comes to securing its ports and passengers.

Tagbilaran City Port, also revered as among the few tourism ports in the country is now making a big step towards keeping an International Maritime Organization standards for safety and security especially when it started accepting the berthing of international cruise ships for tourism.

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Already getting an annual daily average passenger traffic of 6,000, Port of Tagbilaran is also incidentally a gateway for the ASEAN Delegates who would be coming in from Cebu, further complicating the security preparations in Bohol.

But, during the ASEAN presscon organized in the wake of alleged bomb threats received by the Coast  Guard in Leyte, PPA assured that they have set all the needed arrangements to secure the ports and its passengers.

The port manager also informed the media that three more security scanners, or x-ray machines are now set for installation in Bohol ports, the increase in security assets is not just for the ASEAN.

Engr Gantalao said they expect the port traffic to peak this summer and PPA says the figure rises to almost 10,000 a day, for the fiesta month and the summer vacation peak.

Right now, all the areas in the port of Tagbilaran is covered by closed circuit television cameras (CCTS) with months of storage, and the manager can access it online. That means, even if the manager is in Manila, by his smart phone, he can tap into the security feeds or playback, explained PPA information Officer and Archt. Epelito Arao-arao II.

Other than the regular security scans that passengers are subjected to, the port also tasks the Philippine Coast Guard to secure and monitor its port premises while the local port police and the blue guard complement are always on red alert following the Leyte text threats.

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He also added that army assets are also on standby to beef up the security and safety at the ports.

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On the same press encounter with the media, Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio II also said the Provincial Government has an onging K9 training where 10 new dogs would boost local security for the ASEAN.

But over all these preparations, the PPA has identified areas in the port that would be totally dedicated to the ASEAN VIPs.

These include a separate walkway, a performance area set for performers welcoming the ASEAN, a dedicated parking lot and a shuttle solely for the guests.

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The PPA has also offered its MPH as the ASEAN VIP lounge where the guests are received with the Boholano courtesies before getting on to their billeting in Panglao.

The PPA hosted ASEAN coordination meeting would not just show its set security procedures but the PIA info kiosks also set at the said VIP lounge. (rac/PIA-7/Bohol)

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