Cebu ports reopen for stranded individuals, OFWs
CEBU, Philippines — Port terminals in Cebu were finally reopened Monday, but only for locally stranded individuals (LSIs), repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and authorized persons outside residence (APORs).
The reopening came after the declaration of general community quarantine (GCQ) in the entire Cebu province.
Cebu Port Authority (CPA) General Manager Leonilo Miole, however, clarified that the reopening of the port terminals and the resumption of travel were still subject to the restrictions and guidelines issued by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
“CPA has put in place stringent preventive health and safety measures in our ports consistent with the guidelines set by the IATF and in preparation for the ‘new normal’. We are doing our best to establish and implement a complete safety loop for COVID-19 as we welcome passengers travelling to and from Cebu through our seaports,” Miole said in a statement.
In areas under GCQ, passenger ships may resume operations, but only with 50 percent of the ship’s regular capacity, and compliance modified port protocols under the new normal to augment government efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19.
“Passenger terminals in both public or private ports shall only be allowed to accommodate at 50 percent seating capacity and to prevent undue queuing or crowding of passengers. CPA in close coordination with shipping companies will make necessary adjustments of the estimated time of departure (ETD) of vessels,” said Miole.
Another initiative to eliminate queuing and crowding of port terminals is the full integration of terminal fee into the boat fare based on the CPA issued guidelines on the resumption of operation of passenger ships.
“No payment of terminal fees inside the passenger terminal shall be allowed,” he said.
CPA may allow direct boarding of passengers to the vessel as may be deemed necessary in order to avoid crowding, inconvenience, or delay of the vessel’s departure provided that security, safety, and health protocols shall be observed, he added.
Shuttle service providers deployed by shipping companies will also be allowed inside the port without charges to serve inbound passengers and transport them to a drop-off area outside of the port where the passengers may take public transportation.
The operation of ticketing booths of shipping companies located outside port terminals or within a property owned or administered by the CPA is also temporarily suspended.
On porterage service, only 50 percent of the total number of porters are allowed to render porterage services at one time. Porters belonging to a group for the different shipping companies are advised to adopt an alternate work schedule.
To avoid further spread of the virus, CPA will facilitate the regular cleaning and disinfection of passenger terminals and shuttle buses, seats, door knobs, other surfaces, and surroundings of the port. Surfaces will also be wiped regularly with disinfectant after every trip or departure.
Disinfecting foot baths are also placed at the entrance and exits of the passenger terminals and offices in the port. JMD (FREEMAN)