âNo stranded passengers:â Govât says recovery flights, rides available as quarantine starts
This March 13, 2020 photo shows a Cebu Pacific plane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3.
Philstar.com/Rosette Adel

‘No stranded passengers:’ Gov’t says recovery flights, rides available as quarantine starts

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - March 16, 2020 - 10:59pm

MANILA, Philippines— The Philippine government said it would shoulder recovery flights and tourism transportation of passengers whose flights were affected by the implementation of community quarantine.

The Department of Tourism, local government unit officers, local airport staff and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines are assisting both international and domestic tourists who were affected by the community quarantine in terms of recovery flights, transportation, meals and accommodation.

“The DOT and tourism stakeholders, together with the DND, DILG, DOTr, and other agencies of the Interagency Task Force, will not allow any tourists to be stranded here in the Philippines,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

“We have mounted recovery flights with our airlines and the military to bring our tourists home safely,” she added.

Under the community quarantine, the government restrict the non-essential entry into and exit from contained areas in Metro Manila from March 15 to April 14.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday placed the entire Luzon under “enhanced community quarantine” which suspends public transportation until April 12.

Puyat said the DOT regional offices “have been in close coordination with the LGUs to facilitate the transit of passengers to their respective international and domestic gateways.”

According to DOT, flights to Manila have already been redirected to either Clark or Cebu for outgoing international flights only when the community quarantine was implemented Sunday.

It added that several C-130 military planes from the Philippine Department of National Defense (DND) are on stand-by to assist stranded passengers in case airlines are not able to provide recovery flights on time.

The DOT said that “with Clark as the main gateway for domestic flights from other regions for the transit of passengers to Manila, it can be expected that the city will need more than the usual available transport.”

P2P buses

It lauds the Genesis Transport Service Inc. for deploying an additional 16 P2P buses from the 24 buses that are regularly stationed in Clark to address the influx of arriving passengers, especially those coming from Palawan.

These buses can carry the passengers to Ortigas, and NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and 3.

A total of 40 units of P2P buses, three 50-seater double-decker and six 49-seater high decker buses are currently standby in Clark and Bulacan.

Aside from these, the DOT said ten accredited travel agents in Pampanga are also on standby to provide full assistance to tourists in arranging their return flights.

The tourism agency likewise acknowledged the efforts of Philippine carriers Air Asia, AirSwift, Cebu Pacific, and Philippine Airlines for mounting recovery flights to immediately address the situation of stranded passengers.

Around 2,500 passengers have been assisted by the public and private sector in terms of recovery flights and transport since Sunday.

In Palawan, approximately 2,000 passengers were assisted in rerouting their outgoing flights to Cebu and Clark. The passengers’ accommodation and meals were also offered in the airports.

Meanwhile, in Tuguegarao, a Philippine Air Force C-130 cargo plane carried the stranded delegates of Zamboanga Schools Division who attended the National Schools Press Conference to Clark for transport to Manila.

Cebu Pacific also launched a recovery flight in Davao City to transport stranded passengers to Clark, where the residents can travel back to Manila by land.

The DOT said the tourism agency, the inter-agency task force and the LGUs will continue to “increase the capacity for transportation to international and local gateways, and deploy more personnel in the airports to better assist the needs of waiting tourists.”

It earlier said that it will continue monitoring tourism establishments in the country to ensure the proper safety protocols and precautionary measures are carried out and to ensure that Duterte’s directive will be orderly implemented.

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