11,000 cops to be deployed in NCR during Holy Week

Some 11,000 police officers will be deployed in Metro Manila during the Holy Week starting Sunday.

DECORATIVE PALM FRONDS. A family from Minuyan in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan starts making palm fronds for next week’s Palm Sunday celebration. Danny Pata

National Capital Region Police Office spokesperson Lt. Col. Jenny Tecson said the personnel will be assigned to churches, transportation hubs, and tourist destinations to secure peace and order.

Philippine Coast Guard spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo said they would also be on heightened alert starting April 11.

On the other hand, Immigration officers assigned at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and other major airports were prohibited from going on leave during and after the Holy Week to ensure adequate personnel are on hand to serve the traveling public during the Lenten break.

In a memorandum, BI port operations division head Carlos Capulong said all applications for vacation leave for the period April 7 until April 15 were deemed disapproved.

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Also canceled are applications for authority to travel abroad by any BI employee assigned at the airports.

Capulong said the directive, affirmed by BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, was issued in anticipation of the influx and exodus of large numbers of international travelers that usually happen during the Lenten season.

“Normally, there is always a rise in the volume of arriving passengers before the Holy Week and an increase in the number of departing passengers after the Lenten break,” Capulong said.

He explained it was imperative that the BI continues to operate at full work capacity at the airports or its services to the passenger public will be compromised.

Capulong also observed that the number of arriving passengers at the international ports continued to steadily climb since the country opened its borders to foreign tourists last month.

Aside from the NAIA, international flights are also served at the airports in Mactan, Clark, and Davao.

Statistics show that passenger arrivals at the airports are now averaging between 13,000 to 15,000 daily since a week ago, compared to only 6,000 to 9,000 a month ago.

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority is gearing up to accommodate thousands of air travelers going to and coming from Manila to ensure their safety and convenience in time for the observance of Lent.

This is in line with the directives of the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) program dubbed “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa and Summer Vacation 2022.”

”With the lowered alert level in relation to COVID-19 in the country, we expect to have a dramatic increase in the volume of passengers and other airport users as well as vehicles at the parking areas, loading and unloading points within the Ninoy Aquino International Airport,” said MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal.

Also for the entire months of April and May, MIAA will conduct intensive security screening and passenger assistance operations in order to ensure a secured, reliable, convenient, and uninterrupted airport operations at the airport.

Airport officials advised passengers to leave home early to allot more time for travel to the airport during the peak period.

As a general rule, passengers should be at the airport at least three hours before their flights.

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