2 APRIL 2024, MANILA — The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has recorded a total number of 2,066,036 passengers this Holy Week 2024 from March 22- April 2, a significant increase in number of passengers from 1.87 million passengers last year during the same season. 

Based from the data, March 22 to April 2, PPA monitored passenger traffic across key ports. The top 5 port management office (PMO) and their corresponding numbers during this period are as follows: 

1. PMO Mindoro – 213,036 
2. PMO Batangas – 212,515
3. PMO Panay/Guimaras – 205,704
4. PMO Negros Oriental/Siquijor – 183,963 
5. PMO Bohol – 178,726 

Other PMOs that gathered the greatest number of passenger traffic includes PMO Davao, Marinduque-Quezon, Surigao, Bicol and Western Leyte/Biliran. 

The huge number of passengers based on the data collected during the said period is a reflection of more individuals utilizing maritime transport services after the pandemic, reaffirming the critical role of the PPA in ensuring efficient and secure port transportation during peak travel season.

PPA General Manager Jay Santiago commends the recently concluded over-all peaceful and safe exodus of passengers during the Holy Week period, a testament to the robust planning and execution by the authority a month earlier than the peak season. 

Despite the success of the port operations, PPA is not exempted to some challenges encountered  during the Holy Week exodus that were swiftly addressed by the agency’s personnel. In particular, issues such as inadequate online booking or advance booking were identified and managed to ensure smooth operations. 

“Primarily, ang talagang nakikita natin na problema ay ‘yung ticketing. Dahil wala naman tayong electronic or online system para sa ticketing ng mga shipping lines, walang kasiguraduhan ‘yung mga kababayan natin pagdating nila sa pantalan kung sila ay makakakuha ng ticket dahil mano-mano pa rin ‘yung pagbili ng ticket. So, pipila pa rin sila, ang nakikita nating challenge doon ay ‘yung napakahabang pila para bumili lamang ng ticket. Pero mabuti naman at ang ating mga pantalan ay na-improve na natin, yung mga terminal natin. So, after that initial challenge, magiging komportable naman na sila sa mga terminal natin dahil airconditioned na, malinis na mga palikuran, at may mga makakakainan na sila,” GM Santiago said. 

Furthermore, the PPA responded promptly to a bomb joke incident at Puerto Galera involving a 23-year-old woman en route to Batangas Port.

PPA personnel went above and beyond their duty to assist the travelers heading to various provinces. In addition to ensuring orderliness at the ports, the PMOs also made preparations for passengers during the recent Holy Week. For instance, PMO Lanao del Norte not only distributed Easter eggs but also PPA Lugaw to passengers waiting for their trip. 

Meanwhile, PMO Panay/Guimaras and PMO Negros Occidental offered free coffee and bottled water. The Port Services Division of PMO Agusan distributed free binignit to passengers at Nasiport Port, while PMO Davao gave out Easter egg chocolates and prepared a fun Easter photo booth for passengers.

The success of managing the Holy Week exodus boils down to the agency’s early preparation and deployment of full manpower to handle the influx of travelers. Continuous coordination with other relevant agencies and stakeholders also played a crucial role in ensuring the overall passenger experience in the future.