Press Release
March 23, 2010


Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr. today called on government agencies to strictly implement security measures to ensure that ship and bus operators will not take advantage of the Holy Week by resorting to overloading of passengers.

In a statement issued by Senator Ramon Bong Revilla, Jr., he ordered the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to tow away unregistered seacraft that will try to pick up passengers during the Holy Week.

He also directed the PCG to require the ship owners and operators to submit their manifests of passenger an hour before departure to ensure that a seacraft will not violate any rules, particularly overloading.

"It is expected that there will be influx of passengers this coming Holy Week. Many ship operators may tempt to overload but we will counter it with strict measures with the help of the PCG and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) personnel," the senator, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Services, said.

Based on PCG's record, overloading is a common cause of sea mishap. Unscrupulous ship operators allow more passengers to board their vessels, which are beyond their capacity.

The senator warned that unlisted passengers cannot claim anything from ship owners in case of accident.

Bong Revilla appealed to the passengers to follow the rules being implemented by the PCG and the PPA. Both agencies advised the travelers to come to the seaport terminal three hours before their departure.

"The three-hour period will allow the PCG to inspect the passengers and their baggage. The earlier they come, the earlier they can board a vessel," he said.

Bong Revilla lauded the PCG for the tightened security being implemented at the seaports. They were confiscating flammable materials, toxic substances, compressed gasses and explosives.

However, the senator said PCG should focus more on overloading.

Meanwhile, he called on the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Land Transportation Office (LTO) to intensify its campaign against buses that are plying outside its route without special permit. The two agencies have been conducting operations of apprehending public vehicles plying outside its route without special permit.

Earlier, the LTFRB issued special permit to buses. It will allow them to operate out of their line from March 27 to April 4.

"This will ensure that land passengers will be accommodated with the availability of more buses and avoid overloading. It will also discourage travelers to ride vehicles with no franchise," the senator said.

He appealed to the passengers to take precautionary measures in traveling.

"Like in the case of chance passengers in sea vessels, bus without franchise has no insurance for its travelers," he added.

The LTFRB, before granting special permit, requires the bus owners and operators to present insurance for passengers.

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