posted July 12, 2021 at 12:45 am
Since its conception back in July 11, 1974, the Philippine Ports Authority has been doing its part in overseeing port operations for the country and more.
The agency, which is celebrating its 47th year anniversary, aims to deliver sustainable and resilient port infrastructures for the well being of the country’s nautical facilities. However, with the ravaging pandemic, the PPA devoted to do more than just its business mission.
Spearheaded by general manager Jay Daniel R. Santiago, alongside assistant general managers Hector E. Miole, Constante T. Fariñas, Jr. and Elmer Nonnatus A. Cadano, the authority participated in several activities for the country’s fight against COVID-19.
Responding to the country’s growing problem
With the country seeking to gain herd immunity as early as possible, government agencies are called to help citizens of the Philippines. The PPA made sure it answered the call.
In its 46th anniversary last year, the agency developed a movement called “BAYANihan sa Pantalan”—a mandate pushing the Philippine Port Authority and all their workers to help the Filipinos in the pandemic that has devastated numerous families and breadwinners who lost their jobs due to budget cuts.
In a press release, GM Santiago lauded the efforts of the agency and all its constituents in their quest to help the Filipino people.
“It is really overwhelming that the PPA, across all its offices, has moved forward as one unit, contributing to the efforts of the government as it copes with the challenges that the country is facing due to the pandemic, not to mention the other challenges and emergencies that the country has faced since the start of the year (2020),” Santiago said.
Caring for their laborers
The agency, however, did not forget its workers as it was a difficult time for them as well. Cash assistance was given to porters, dockworkers and outsourced personnel for the PPA. The assistance was estimated to have reached over P2 billion.
Accompanied by private sectors and civic organizations, the PPA upheld its Bayanihan mandate in easing up the movement of cargoes in and out of the ports in consideration of the IATF’s health protocols.
The PPA also contributed to government efforts, such as the Balik Probinsya program back in 2020, a repatriation project made by the Office of the President to bring home workers amid the global pandemic. They helped handle more than 20,000 workers in their nationwide ports.
PPA is also implementing added measures to keep Philippine ports safe from COVID-19. Sanitary misting of cargoes from every port is now a must, while they have also partnered with the Department of Health in disseminating information to port platforms for the public.
To further ensure that the agency is doing its part in COVID prevention, face-to-face transactions are halted as they move to an online approach with the unified passenger ticketing system, automated payment scheme and automated cargo payment.
Behind the PPA’s rich history and its pursuit of a bright future
The Philippine Ports Authority works independently to aid in nautical affairs and ports innovations. However, that wasn’t always the case as before its establishment, the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Public Works worked closely for port and harbor maintenance.
Back in the 1970s, there were roughly 600 national and municipal ports for rationalizing and development.
According to the PPA’s website, the agency was made due to the “need to integrate and coordinate port planning, development, operations and regulation at the national level”.
Forty-seven years later, the organization still follows its pursuit for port planning with over 25 port management offices around the country.
During the pandemic, the PPA still managed to complete 14 ports in 2020.
These projects were done in Palawan, Marinduque, IloIlo, Lanao del Norte, Bohol, Oriental Mindoro, Misamis Occidental, Davao Del Sur, Ilocos Sur and Agusan del Norte to name a few.
Recently, the PPA has worked hand in hand with the Department of Transportation to revive Luzon tourism, particularly in Ilocos Sur.
PPA GM Santiago, along with DOTR Sec. Tugade inaugurated the Salomague Port in Ilocos, a projected cruise port under the care of the agency.
The port was constructed in two years, from November of 2019 to April of this year.
The agency will continue to work expanding its ports as it strives to give the country a respectable and reputable name for harbor and on-sea services.
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