ORION, Bataan, Oct. 9 (PIA) -- Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) commissioned Friday a quarantine facility at Port Capinpin for returning Filipino seafarers.
In his welcome message, Port Management Office Bataan/Aurora Manager Allan Rojo said this is in line with their continuing commitment to safe and prompt delivery of quality public services to all manner of sea going vessels.
"This is also in consonance with the government effort to prevent, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19. The facility was made with utmost regard to the safety of our Filipino seafarers in mind and complements the one-stop shop of Port Capinpin, which aims to create a green lane for the safe, swift, and convenient disembarkation of our fellow Filipino seafarers," Rojo said.
He also assured that the facility will be able to facilitate the crew change activities to better address the pandemic, while maintaining a safe environment for the seafarers, port personnel, and nearby community.
Meanwhile, PPA General Manager Jay Daniel Santiago thanked the provincial and municipal government, as well as its private sector donor, for their help in realizing the project.
"This facility is part of the PhP100 million donation of the Lopez Group of Companies to Department of Transportation (DOTr) and PPA, to help us combat the pandemic. We are proud that their donation did not go to waste and was used in a good way. And I am also proud that a native Bataeno made this facility," Santiago added.
For his part, Governor Albert Raymond Garcia said this is significant in order to balance the health and safety with the opening of the economy.
"We know that that the world economy is primarily driven by the maritime sector, mainly because of shipping and logistics. This activity is very important to ensure smooth crew change to ensure that our seafarers can safely come home to their families. At the same time, those who had already spent time with their families and are ready to work again can be sent-off or embarked," Garcia said.
This was affirmed by Second District Representative Jose Enrique Garcia III, who said there is a need to work together to gradually help our economy open up.
"This project is very important because here we can see how the national and local government, as well as the private sector, work together to think and create a way to continue the livelihood of the people in the midst of the pandemic," Garcia said.
In addition, Maritime Industry Authority Vice-Admiral Narciso Vingson Jr. said the opening of Port Capinpin, Subic, and eventually Cebu will help seafarers get home and work again, but it must be in accordance with strict health and safety protocol.
"Its objective is to repatriate our stranded seafarers who had been experiencing fatigue and stress physically and mentally because of long stay aboard ship beyond their contract. Right now, building a crew change hub here is a big thing to help our countrymen," Vingzon said.
He added that creating a crew change hub is not easy because of the need to constantly harmonize national and local guidelines for seamless implementation of protocols.
This new quarantine facility in Port Capinpin is managed and operated by the PPA. It has an area of about 1,271.6 square meters with a 124-bed capacity including 25 cubicles intended for high-risk cases separated by a nursing station. Construction started last September 23 and was completed on October 7.
It can be recalled that on September 5, DOTr Maritime Sector conducted the first crew change activity outside Metro Manila at Port Capinpin.
From September 1 to October 6, the One-Stop-Shop there facilitated the seafarers' requirements for crew change operations. During that period, it has served a total of 27 vessels with 564 Filipino seafarers and 20 foreign nationals. (CLJD/MJSC-PIA 3)