All PPA ports ‘operational’ despite rising Covid-19 cases

All seaports and offices of the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) remain operational despite many of its employees testing positive for Covid-19.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Tuesday, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago said those who tested positive among their ranks have been replaced by others who have previously been working from home, allowing for the continued operations of PPA offices.

“Ni-recall na po natin iyong ibang mga hindi naka-schedule na rotation this week para mapunan po nila iyong pagkukulang noong mga tauhan natin na in-isolate po natin simula kahapon pa (We have recalled those who have not been scheduled for this week so they can cover for those who are in isolation since yesterday),” Santiago said.

On Tuesday morning, he said five more PPA employees have tested positive after taking a Covid-19 antigen test, in addition to 40 others who have earlier tested positive.

“Although sila po ay nag-positive, naka-work from home po sila dahil asymptomatic naman po itong mga kasama natin (Although they have tested positive, they are working from home because they are asymptomatic),” Santiago said.

Despite the recent surge in Covid-19 cases and the damages left by Typhoon Odette last December, he said all PPA ports are “commercially operational,” with some port facilities still undergoing repairs.

“Nagkakaroon po tayo ng kakulangan sa mga amenities para sa mga pasahero natin at immediately nagsisimula na po tayong magkumpuni ng mga ito (We are lacking on amenities for passengers and we have immediately begun their repairs),” Santiago said.

He said cargo operations have resumed albeit with a minor shortage on operational vessels currently being addressed by the PPA, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“Nagbigay po ang MARINA ng at least 13 po yata na special permits ano, para po makapaglayag iyong mga barko sa mga apektadong ruta (MARINA have issued 13 special permits to allow vessels to sail in affected routes),” Santiago said.

In addition, he said the PPA is currently prioritizing the transit of “relief cargoes and RoRo vessels” as well as other vehicles used in providing relief to areas affected by “Odette.”

He said all terminal charges and passenger terminal fees have also been waived in all PPA ports beginning Dec. 22, 2021, until Jan. 22, 2022.

“Wala po silang babayaran para po para sa terminal charges po at sana po iyon ay makatulong para mas mapabilis po ang pagresponde po noong ating mga ahensiya ng pamahalaan at pati din po iyong pribadong sektor na tumutulong po sa relief efforts (They are not going to pay terminal charges and we hope that will help accelerate the response of our government agencies as well as those in the private sector who are helping in the relief efforts),” Santiago said.

To help combat the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country, he said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered intensified security and health checks by border security in all ports.

“Sa mga sasakyang pandagat at sa mga terminal po natin nasa 70% capacity pa rin po tayo, at sinisigurado po natin na nasusunod po iyong seven commandments din po sa public transportation (In our maritime vessels and terminal, we’re still at 70 percent capacity and we’re ensuring compliance with the seven commandments in public transportation),” Santiago said.

Santiago was referring to transportation’s seven commandments: wearing of proper face masks; wearing of face shields; no talking no eating; adequate ventilation; frequent and proper disinfection; symptomatic or Covid-19 positive must be isolated; and, appropriate physical distancing.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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