Tuesday, December 21, 2010

DOTC deploys anti-terror units at terminals

With the yearly Christmas exodus due to peak this week, the Department of Transportation and Communications has deployed anti-terrorism teams to beef up security in transport terminals.

In a radio interview Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus said he ordered the Office of Transport Security (OTS) to augment security at airports, seaports, terminals, and even malls.

"They are to augment security in terminals, malls, ports and airports, to ensure the safety of our passengers," De Jesus told dzXL radio.

Filipinos are expected to start crowding transport terminals this week to get rides to their home provinces so they can spend the holidays there.

De Jesus said he has also ordered the Philippine Coast Guard, which is under his department, to secure passengers as well.

The Coast Guard already tightened security and inspections at seaports, using K-9 units, Special Operations Groups and sea marshals.

"At this time when people are leaving for the provinces, I expect them to know their jobs as part of standard operating procedure," De Jesus said.


The OTS, which has three transportation security bureaus, has the mandate to secure the country’s transportation systems against terrorism.

Its bureaus include the Civil Aviation Security Bureau (CASB), Maritime Transportation Security Bureau (MTSB) and Land Transportation Security Bureau (LTSB).

Support bureaus include the Intelligence and Operations Bureau (IOB), Administrative and Finance Bureau (AFB) and Legal and Planning Bureau (LPB).

The OTS was created on Jan. 30, 2004 by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through Executive Order 277.

"Responding to the international mandate calling for a single authority for all modes of transportation security in the Philippines per the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) and IMO (International Maritime Organization) guidelines, the President issued E.O. 311 on April 26, 2004, designating OTS as the single authority called for and thereto expanding its powers and functions," the DOTC said. — RSJ, GMANews.TV

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