The port and maritime community together with the health sector have strengthened coordination and cooperation in the continuing efforts to help prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) from entering the country through ports.

The Department of Health (DOH) and its local units have doubled their assistance to the ports. The agency had earlier deployed volunteer nurses in the Port of Cagayan de Oro (Baseport) who have been administering the thermo guns to both embarking and disembarking passengers since 13 February 2020, while the Provincial Health Office-Misamis Oriental turned-over three (3) thermo guns and three (3) forehead thermometers to the Port Management Office of Misamis Oriental-Cagayan de Oro on 21 February. One (1) additional thermo gun and one (1) forehead thermometer will be for the Port of Balingoan, Misamis Oriental, while the rest will be used in the Port of Cagayan de Oro. The Provincial Local Government of Misamis Oriental formally turned-over the items to the PMO in a ceremony on 24 February 2020 at the Provincial Capitol. The PMO was represented by Port Services Division Manager Ruby Maria O. Gumapon.

The City Health Office of Cagayan de Oro also pledged to provide an infrared scanner for the Baseport during the Port and Maritime Management Advisory Council (PMMAC) meeting on 20 February 2020.

The Baseport and Terminal Ports in Balingoan and Camiguin have designated areas for the health inspection of seagoing passengers manned by DOH personnel. The Local Government Unit of Camiguin spearheaded the deployment of DOH personnel in the Port of Benoni, Camiguin.

Management Updates

The Philippine Ports Authority has also issued recently PPA Memorandum Circular 02-2020 on 12 February 2020 on the “Management Port Protocols in Response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”, in conjunction with the Presidential directive, and relevant advisories from the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) and other government agencies. The said Memorandum Circular details the health protocols for ships that have called in any port in China and its Special Administrative Region (SAR), ship agents/vessel crew, receiving ports, among others, which are already being complied by PMO MO/C as applicable for ports under its jurisdiction. Face masks for all frontline personnel, thermo guns, hand sanitizers, and alcohol were provided in ports. Information materials were also posted in conspicuous places in the ports and in the Port Terminal Buildings (PTBs).

The PMO’s Port Police Division has issued new Port Advisory/Bulletin/Announcement (PABA) on the lifting of travel ban to Taiwan amid COVID-19.

Port and Maritime Community

DOH-10 reminded the stakeholders particularly the shipping lines and pilotage service providers that no boarding shall be made prior to the clearance from the BoQ Boarding Team, during the recent PMMAC meeting. Further, there must be Maritime Declaration of Health, crew list/passenger list (information on sick crew/passengers, information on crew/passengers travel history i.e. if they have been to China within the previous 14 days minimum) and other related documents before vessel arrival. The shipping lines and pilotage service providers committed to adhere to the health protocols issued by BOQ/DOH. Additionally, shipping lines will be providing hand sanitizers and alcohol in their respective ticketing outlets.

he Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA)-10 has also implemented Monitoring Report for onboard vessels, to ensure that vessels are compliant to the preventive measures against COVID-19 such as the provision of face masks, hand sanitizers and alcohol, and thermo gun for all onboard, among others. — by IMR Lam