30,000 Camiguin-bound passengers expected at Balingoan port

BALINGOAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/15 April) – Port authorities here are gearing up for the arrival of around 30,000 passengers that will be heading to Camiguin Island for the Holy Week.

“Just between Monday and Friday we are expecting at least 30,000 passengers that would be coming through the Balingoan port terminal. I’m sure the numbers would reach close to double since there are passengers that would be coming from Cagayan de Oro port and those from Bohol,” said Gilbert Anthony Gineno, Philippine Ports Authority terminal manager.

Gineno said their operational plan for the entire Holy Week is already underway.

“We already had our meeting with all the key stakeholders that will be involved in preparing the port area for the influx of passengers. There will be rerouting of all the vehicles that will be loaded to lessen the problems of congestion which was encountered in the past years as well as a new passenger scheme for purchasing tickets,” he said.

He explained they will be getting assistance from the police and other sectors to make the trips of the passengers safer.

“There will be medical teams on standby with ambulance in case of emergency or an immediate first aid treatment would be needed,” Gineno said.

“The municipal police officer has assured to provide 20 police personnel that will also be augmented by barangay marshals from the three barangays in the port area as well as passenger assistance centers,” he added.

Gineno said that on other days the ferries to Camiguin would only travel until 5:30 p.m. but during the Holy Week they would extend the departure time until late in the evening.

“Due to the expected numbers of passengers and vehicles that will be ferried to the island, we will extend the travel hours until 10:00 in the evening, with seven ships running non-stop between Holy Tuesday and Thursday,” he said.

“Passengers should directly buy their tickets in the port terminal and not from fixers and for vehicle owners to directly coordinate with our authorized personnel,” he advised.

“From Holy Tuesday to Thursday we expect around 6,000 passengers a day or a total of around 18,000 within just three days. This is sure to increase if we include the passenger that would cross on Monday and on Good Friday, so I’m sure it will be around 30,000,” said PO1 Elizer Palmares, sub-station commander of Coast Guard-Balingoan.

“We will be on full alert as we estimate around three ships will cross between Balingoan and Camiguin within an hour,” he said, adding they will focus on securing the ferries.

He said that aside from requesting additional personnel they have prepared K-9 teams and rescue boats. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)