Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange or PITX (PNA photo)

MANILA – Random inspections of transport terminals across the country have begun as part of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) efforts to ensure the safety and security of passengers during the Holy Week and summer exodus.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Monday, DOTr Undersecretary Mark Steven Pastor said the country’s first and largest land terminal, the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), is currently receiving a large number of passengers.

“Talagang dinagsa po ito ng tao at maayos po ang sitwasyon. May pila po ngunit mabilis po ang pagkilos dahil tuluy-tuloy naman po ang pagdating ng sasakyan at dinudumog nga po iyong ating libreng sakay (People have flocked over here but the situation is fine. There is queuing but it is moving fast because vehicles keep arriving and the free ride public utility vehicles (PUVs) are receiving an influx of passengers),” Pastor said.

Private terminals, or those owned and operated by public transport operators, have also been inspected, with some found to have violated government regulations.

“Ipinaalam po natin ito sa management ng mga private operators na ito, ganoon na rin po sa ating MMDA [Metropolitan Manila Development Authority] upang siguraduhin pong maaayos ito sa pinakamabilis na panahon (We have notified the management of these private operators and also the MMDA to ensure that they get fixed as soon as possible),” Pastor said.

Aside from inspection of terminals, he said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also ordered the intensified observation of drivers and conductors under “Oplan Harabas” in coordination with the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and other government agencies.

“More than 4,000 drivers na po ang na-random drug testing natin, at may 62 na po na nag positibo rito at sila po ay tinanggal na po sa mga bus or dyip na kanilang minamaneho at under investigation po sila ngayon (We have administered random drug tests to over 4,000 drivers, we have found 62 who tested positive and had them removed, and they are now under investigation),” Pastor said.

He also advised the public to check for any advisories or inclement weather warnings before they depart to avoid getting stranded on both land and seaports.

Katulad po dito sa Eastern Visayas na may nararanasan po tayong bagyo ngayon ay pansamantala pong inihinto ang biyahe na papunta po ng Matnog Port (Similar to what is happening in Eastern Visayas where they are experiencing a typhoon, causing temporary suspension of trips from Matnog Port),” Pastor said.

In its latest advisory on “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa 2022,” the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) monitored a total of 18,209 outbound passengers and 15,569 inbound passengers in all ports nationwide.

To date, a total of 2,210 frontline PCG personnel in 15 districts have inspected a total of 506 vessels and 531 motor bancas. (PNA)