The Land Transportation Office said it will go on heightened alert status starting March 31, Friday until April 10, including weekends, in line with “Oplan Biyaheng Ayos: Semana Santa and Summer Vacation 2023.”
LTO chief Jay Art Tugade said this is part of measures to ensure the safety of the public and motorists for the coming Holy Week and summer vacation.
He said the agency is focused on the overall road safety, including the roadworthiness inspection of public utility vehicles, and will conduct inspections on land transport terminals and provide assistance to motorists.
Random drug testing will also be conducted among PUV drivers and conductors.
Aside from monitoring the major roads heading north and south of the National Capital Region, LTO personnel will also monitor all strategic locations and terminals in all regions of the country.
Meanwhile, a seminar will be held on March 28 for PUV drivers and conductors as part of the LTO’s campaign on overall road safety for the Holy Week season.
Tugade said the LTO aimed to ensure the smooth and safe observance of the Holy Week and summer vacation. He also called on the public and motorists to cooperate with the government in terms of complying with traffic rules.
Meanwhile, some 1.2 million passengers are expected to troop to the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange for trips for the Holy Week, PITX management said.
Some regular bus trips to Bicol and Visayas are already fully booked for Holy Week.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has already issued special permits to 22 units for additional trips to Bicol.
For his part, Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito Dolor on Monday appealed to tourists not to skip Puerto Galera in preparing their vacation plans, saying the area is “safe” from the threat of the oil spill caused by the sunken tanker MT Princess Empress off Naujan town.
Dolor said that based on the reports of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and Coast Guard, no traces of oil were found in Puerto Galera.
Puerto Galera, known for its white sand beach and diving sites, is a major contributor in the economy of Oriental Mindoro.
The Provincial Tourism Office of Oriental Mindoro reported a loss of P200 million worth of damage caused by the oil spill.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the government is already seeing “the momentum for recovery for tourism” after more than 1.3 million foreigners have arrived in the Philippines so far in 2023.
“The first quarter is not yet over but we have already reached 1.3 million international arrivals,” she said.
The Philippines recorded 2.65 million tourist arrivals in 2022. It is hoping to attract nearly 5 million visitors this year.