MANILA, Philippines – Speaker of the House Lord Allan Velasco wants a policy to suspend sea travel in areas under Public Storm Warning Sign (PSWS) No.1 be changed.
Velasco said he wanted the existing guidelines on sea travel during typhoons, especially during Storm Signal No.1, to be revised and replaced with an “adoptive, forward-thinking and supportive maritime legal policy. economic stability “.
The policy, which was spelled out in a circular memorandum issued by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in 2013, is “counterproductive and detrimental to the country’s shipping and shipping industry, and the general public,” according to Velasco.
“The PCG circular has resulted in stressful delays, unplanned cancellations, lower economic productivity and stalled shipping services,” Velasco said in a statement Sunday.
PSWS # 1 is implemented and announced by the state meteorological office when wind speeds of 30 to 60 kilometers per hour are expected to affect a given locality within 36 hours.
However, this does not mean that the corresponding weather conditions already prevail over that particular area.
According to Velasco, the 36-hour deadline was originally scheduled for inland storm preparations involving residences, farms and land travel, among others.
He noted that advanced gale warning advisories and other maritime forecasting technologies and mechanisms are already available and should be maximized in developing adaptive and economically sustainable guidelines on sea travel – without sacrificing safety. safety and protection of stakeholders in the maritime industry.
This came after a virtual meeting with officials from PCG, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) and the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) on Wednesday.
The discussion focused on PCG Circular Memorandum No. 02-13 prescribing the “Heavy Weather Vessel Movement Guidelines”, effectively prohibiting any type of boat, vessel or seagoing vessel from operating or traveling in those areas. areas where PSWS n ° 1 is declared.
Velasco urged PCG, Pagasa and MARINA officials to consider the possibility of having a shorter time frame for storm signals and vessel movement in bad weather.
He argued that the current 36-hour delivery time for PSWS No.1 is “quite long” and leads to severe port congestion and derailment of economic activities.
“We need to find a way that we can adjust the way we determine storm warning signals and protocols by allowing ships to travel by sea without sacrificing the safety of passengers and sailors,” Velasco said.
The president added that the 36-hour deadline is “ineffective” as it prevents people and goods from being stranded in ports even when the weather is calm or there is enough time to travel safely.
He said this is mainly the case for people living on the islands citing his own province, Marinduque, where inter-island trips can be made in just an hour or two.
“I take my province as an example. We’re used to a scenario where every time Pagasa declares signal # 1 in Quezon province, vehicles and returning Marinduqueños are stranded in the seaport, ”Velasco said.
“It doesn’t just happen to Marinduque. This is also happening in many parts of the country, ”he added.
The president suggested that Pagasa designate the affected regions in quadrants, as some regions are more affected than others during a storm signal warning.
The least affected areas are often overloaded with stranded passengers and congested cargo in their respective ports, he said.
Velasco believes that using a more targeted approach to reporting PSWS # 1, specifying which area of a particular province or region should be placed under that notice, can help avoid unnecessary delays in activities. ports without sacrificing the safety of travelers and sailors.
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