Gov’t offices on ‘blue alert’ status for Holy Week

By Rjay Zuriaga Castor

Government agencies and offices in the region are under blue or heightened alert in observance of Holy Week or Semana Santa.

The Office of Civil Defense Western Visayas (OCD-6) is on blue alert status from March 22 to April 2, which means that half of its personnel are on standby for increased monitoring and coordination with stakeholders to ensure readiness for any emergencies.

“The raising of the blue alert status will enhance our monitoring. What we do in OCD is we coordinate efforts among stakeholders and we monitor our situation to ensure that our personnel are on standby and if we need augmentation we can immediately deploy,” Melissa Banias, OCD-6 operations section chief, told Daily Guardian on Monday.

Banias added they are on lookout for incidents of stampede and fire in the observance of the Holy Week 2024.

“We are on look out for more cases of stampede, especially that there are processions in several areas. We are also on the lookout for fire incidents because we are still in our Fire Prevention Month,” she said.

Banias added that vehicular incidents are also a concern due to increased group travel by devotees.

She further reminded the public to follow and take heed of the advisories coming from the different government agencies and offices.

“Continue to be aware. We need to have situation awareness. It’s always ‘Ligtas ang may alam’,” she added.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP-6)is already placed on heightened alert status from March 24 to 2 in response to the activation of Oplan Semana Santa and Lakbay-Alalay.

The BFP-6 said its First Aid Service Teams will be strategically placed in populated areas to ensure on-time delivery of medical first aid, and deployment of ambulances and personnel in visible points will provide immediate medical assistance.

It added that its Fire Suppression Teams will also be on standby to respond to fire and other emergencies within their respective areas of responsibility.

Meanwhile, The Regional Maritime Industry Authority has approved extended operating hours for ferry services between Jordan, Guimaras, and Iloilo City on March 29.

The extended time of operations is allowed to operators plying the route Jordan Wharf, Jordan Guimaras to Parloa Wharf, Iloilo City and vice versa to cater to an influx of tourists and guests of the “Ang Pagtaltal Sa Bala-an Bukid”.

Operators may start their operations from 4:00 a.m. and extend their trips until 11:00 p.m. and 12 midnight for Roll-on/roll-off (RORO or ro-ro) operators.

Malacañang on Monday issued Memorandum Circular No. 45  declaring half-day work in government offices on March 27, Wednesday, to allow state employees to properly observe Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.