Still and all, ’twas peaceful

THE PNP yesterday said the overall situation during Holy Week was “generally peaceful” despite a number of untoward incidents and recorded crimes.

PNP chief Alan Purisima said he allowed regional police directors to downgrade their alert levels depending on the prevailing situation in their areas.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) said at least 12 died, 531 were injured and two are missing.

Eduardo Batac, acting NDRRMC executive director and Office of Civil Defense administrator, said of the 12 fatalities, seven drowned.

They were three-year-old Blizz Eilengie Tesorio (Maundy Thursday), Roland Deo, 33, of Bolinao, Pangasinan (Black Saturday), Avelino Daliri, 29, of Ilagan, Isabela (Good Friday), Venancio Dumon, of Echague, Isabela (Good Friday), Felimon Aclan, 25 of Batangas City (Good Friday), Junior Redondo and Richard Matanguihan, of Tanauan City (Maundy Thursday).

Cristy Dion, 39, of San Fabian, Pangasinan and Apple Joy Carion, 13, of Magsaysay, Occidental Mindoro, remain missing as they were swept by strong currents last Black Saturday.

Romeo Parahinog, 18, of Angono, Rizal and Simon Abitong Jr, of Antipolo City, were killed in vehicular accidents on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday; Lowie Bulso, of Lipa City died in a fire on Good Friday; Sofronie Jamis Bombeo, 50, was killed in a shooting rampage in Libertad, Misamis Oriental on Maundy Thursday; and a militiaman was killed by communist rebels in Butuan City on Good Friday.

Director Alex Paul Monteagudo, PNP director for operations, said Oplan SumVac (Operational Plan Summer Vacation) will still be in effect today as thousands are expected to return from the provinces.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said it would focus its traffic management efforts on key chokepoints namely Balintawak and Mindanao Avenue in the north and Magallanes in the south.

MMDA Traffic Engineering Center director Noemi Recio said they have traffic constables in place as part of the overall “Oplan Metro Alalay Semana Santa” or Oplan MASS which started last March 22.

Under Oplan MASS, the agency has deployed 1, 847 traffic enforcers along with tow trucks, emergency and communication vehicles, including the three “Agila” vans fitted with communications and monitoring equipment, and ambulances.

The 60-kilometer per hour (kph) speed limit along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City and the Diosdado Macapagal Boulevard in Paranaque will be in effect.

Operators of the South Luzon and North Luzon Expressways will be enforcing a speed limit of 100 kph for cars, jeeps and pick-ups not more than seven feet high and 80 kph for buses and trucks. The minimum speed remains at 60 kph.

MMDA said the “number-coding” will remain suspended until tomorrow except for Makati City which will enforce the scheme starting today.

PAL Adds, Cancels Flights For Holy Week

Philippine Airlines (PAL) is regulating its operations on Holy Week by adding 6 extra flights to 3 destinations and developing 20 international and 2 domestic flights by using larger aircraft.

An additional flight will be attached to and from the following destinations: Taipei and Puerto Princesa City on the 8th of April while on the 9th will be at Hong Kong.

The flights that will use larger aircraft to lodge more passengers are those to and from Shanghai (Pudong airport) on April 4; Xiamen, Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing on April 5; Puerto Princesa City on April 7; Hong Kong, Xiamen and Beijing on April 8; and Xiamen on April 9.

PAL domestic operations will be scaled down with the cancellation of 38 flights to 7 destinations on Good Friday, Black Saturday and Easter Sunday to permit PAL employees to at least witness Holy Week practices.

On Good Friday, particular flights to and from will be cancelled such as cities of Cotabato, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao, Zamboanga and Tacloban. While on Black Saturday, certain flights to and from Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Davao will be also withdrawn.

On Easter Sunday, one flight each to Cebu, Cagayan de Oro and Zamboanga will similarly be canceled.

Visit the PAL website for a complete list of canceled, upgraded and additional flights (www.philippineairlines.com) or call PAL Reservations at 8558888.

Passengers are recommended to arrive earlier than usual at the airport, also that they double check travel documents (passport, tickets, etc.) and minimize bringing bulky carry-on baggage to avoid aggravations.