President Aquino inspects Batangas Port as Holy Week break begins
President Benigno S. Aquino III inspected the Batangas Port Passenger Terminal on Wednesday as the Holy Week vacation began.
President Aquino arrived at the pier at about 11 a.m. and was received by Batangas Port General Manager Leopoldo Biscocho and MARINA Administrator Maximo Mejia, Jr.
Upon arrival, the President inspected the passenger’s help desk, before proceeding to the ticketing booths, passenger and baggage screening counters, and passenger’s waiting lounge.
He then inspected an outrigger banca docked in the pier berth located in front of the passenger’s waiting lounge. He also boarded and inspected a RORO vessel docked at the port.
The President toured both passenger terminals 1 and 2.
In an interview granted to the press following the inspection, the President expressed his satisfaction over the preparations being done by port officials and employees.
“So far, wala akong nakikitang dapat bigyan ng dagdag na pansin,” he said.
He said he was particularly satisfied with the complete set of life vest he saw at the outrigger banca and the equipment of the Fastcat ferry.
“Iyong Fastcat, nakaka-impress naman ang kanilang equipment, tapos ang investments na gagawin, a fleet eventually of 30 that looked to be very modern. The passengers were all smiling. Nobody approached me with any complaint,” he said.
Meanwhile, the President said that all concerned government agencies have also been preparing for the onslaught of Typhoon Chedeng, which is projected to enter the Philippine Area of Responsibility on Wednesday night.
He said National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Chief Alexander Pama is on top of the situation.
“He (Pama) is a self-starter. Hindi na kailangang sabihin kung ano ang kailangan niyang gawin. I'm sure he already has the answers to questions that I am still formulating,” he said. PND (jb)
President Aquino says he will monitor Typhoon ‘Chedeng’ from Bahay Pangarap
President Benigno S. Aquino III said he will check the progress of Typhoon Chedeng, as it enters the country’s area of responsibility on Wednesday night or early Thursday.
In an interview in Batangas City on Wednesday, the President said he would probably stay at Bahay Pangarap in Manila late this week if the typhoon hits the country.
"But if there is something that needs my attention, then I will be at the NDRRMC (National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council) at Camp Aguinaldo," he told reporters when asked where he would be monitoring the typhoon.
President Aquino assured that other concerned government agencies, among them, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), are closely watching Typhoon Chedeng and are ready to be mobilized once the typhoon strikes.
The DOTC is keeping an eye on ships leaving the ports, he said, adding that the department will prevent them from sailing once Public Storm Warning Signal Number 1 is declared anywhere in the country.
The President further reported that the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has begun prepositioning food packages and relief goods, especially for Isabela and Quirino.
"The DPWH, I'm sure, will also preposition equipment, for instance, kung tatamaan ang Cagayan Valley, baka the eye will pass the area,” he said, noting that Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson and other Cabinet members need not be pushed to do their jobs.
As for Cabinet members who are planning to take their vacation, the President said he hopes they would think twice and instead double their efforts in making the necessary preparations as the country gears up for the typhoon.
On the likelihood of Typhoon Chedeng becoming a super typhoon, the President said he got word from Science and Technology Secretary Mario Montejo that it is almost a super typhoon but it is expected to weaken before entering the Philippine Area of Responsibility and making landfall between Aurora and Isabela, which is expected on Saturday.
President Aquino said Secretary Montejo has not yet recommended that a meeting be called regarding the government's response and preparations, noting that the regular NDRRMC meeting would suffice at the moment.
He said the DOST chief assured him that he would get updates on the status of the typhoon. PND (as)
President Aquino makes rounds of seaport, airport, bus terminals
President Benigno S. Aquino III made the rounds of seaport, airport and bus terminals on Wednesday to ensure safe travel as Filipinos trooped to the provinces for the Holy Week break.
After inspecting the Batangas Port Passenger Terminal on Wednesday morning, the President proceeded to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminals 1 and 3 to assess preparations for the influx of people as well as ongoing renovation works in the airport.
Arriving at NAIA Terminal 3 at about 1:51 p.m., President Aquino was met by Director General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines retired Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss III, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, and NAIA Terminal 3 Manager Engineer Octavio Lina.
Also there at the terminal’s departure area were the mascot of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and reigning Mister International Philippines, Police Officer 2 Mariano Flormata, Jr. of the PNP’s Aviation Security Group.
As he was being briefed by Honrado, the President inspected Cebu Pacific Air’s check-in counters for departing passengers, as well as the X-ray machine at the final security check at the departure area.
President Aquino proceeded to the Dignitaries' Lounge, where he viewed the runway, and the adjacent Presidential Lounge. Both rooms were newly constructed.
The President then proceeded to NAIA Terminal 1’s departure area at about 2 p.m., inspecting the X-ray machine areas, check-in and immigration counters, the arrival area, and the conveyor system.
He was accompanied by Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Jose Angel Honrado, and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority Chairman Francis Tolentino.
When asked by members of the Malacañang Press Corps if he was satisfied with the preparations made by both Terminals 1 and 3 for the Holy Week exodus, the President said more could be done.
"Hindi ko puwede sabihin satisfied ako. Siyempre, we are imperfect beings, we can always strive for perfection," he said.
Asked to comment on the ongoing work at Terminal 1, the President said there was a commitment to complete the renovation work in May or June.
He said destroying the entire building and building a new one would have taken several years.
"We need it for APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), especially this year, tapos ‘yung Pope’s visit," the President said, adding that a new terminal would be a big help in boosting tourist arrivals from 5 million last year to 10 million next year, as planned.
From the airport, the President Aquino continued his inspection, visiting the JAM Liner bus terminal along EDSA in Kamuning, Quezon City, where he was welcomed by JAM Liner Operations Manager Jose Aguilo and Terminal Manager Noel Tionco.
Aguilo and Tionco informed the President of the bus company’s iBus technology.
According to the JAM Liner website, the iBus is an advanced passenger information technology with a Global Positioning System (GPS) that provides passengers helpful information on their travel, including up-to-the-minute news, entertainment, and WiFi connectivity.
President Aquino inspected two buses equipped with the new technology installed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and then proceeded to the ticketing office and passenger’s waiting lounge. He also spoke to some passengers at the terminal. PND (ag/as/jm)
President Aquino urges vehicle owners to follow policy on use of license plates
President Benigno S. Aquino III has vowed to implement the law on the use of license plates, advising car dealers and owners to release and attach the plates to vehicles to avoid being apprehended.
In an interview in Batangas City on Wednesday, the President said the government has already been able to remedy the concerns on the license plate backlog.
"Pero 'yung backlog, ginawang dahilan para hindi kunin ng mga dealers 'yung plaka sa LTO (Land Transportation Office). Kapag hindi kinuha 'yung plaka, ‘registered no plate available’ ang ilalagay, exempted sa ating odd-even scheme," he said.
The implementation of the government policy on car plates is a way of reminding private car owners to attach their plates on their vehicles, he said.
The President noted that two weeks ago, vehicle dealers finally got the plates from the LTO, so there is no reason for car owners not to have new plates on their cars.
"So wala nang dahilan na dapat hindi mo ikabit 'yung plaka mo. Siguro kung lahat may sakripisyo doon sa odd-even scheme, kasama ka rin naman dapat doon sa nagsasakripisyo," he said.
Motorcycle owners are likewise covered by the government's strict policy on license plates, he said, adding there is also a huge backlog on motorcycle plates.
Transportation and Communications Secreatry Joseph Emilio Abaya clarified that it is not a "no plate, no travel" policy but a "no registration, no travel" one.
“We are just bringing back the enforcement of the law. No unregistered vehicle should be plying our streets," Abaya told reporters who accompanied the President during his inspection of NAIA Terminal 1. PND (as)