Closed airport

VERBAL VARIETY - Annie Fe Perez (The Freeman) - May 15, 2021 - 12:00am

My passport has been dormant for the past year. The last (and only) foreign trip that I had was to Singapore, a few months before the lockdown. I was lucky enough to have travelled without restrictions to a country which, at that time, had a surging number of cases. At that time, there were already few passengers on the plane with us. The flight was filled with Filipinos who took advantage of the super seat sales. It would be such a waste not to grab the opportunity to travel abroad for less than a thousand pesos, right?

I think my passport will be dormant in the next few months despite me booking another international trip for September. The reason behind this booking is, of course, another seat sale. Although the province has opened its tourist destinations and travelling has been easier within Cebu, I still miss the feel of going somewhere new and unfamiliar. Today the airport temporarily closed its operations for international travel.

The reason behind this is that our quarantine facilities for returning overseas workers is already reaching its maximum. The almost 3,000 hotel rooms dedicated for this are still filled and we don't expect it to go down for the next few days. The hotel industry taking care of these individuals also has to breathe as well. When they get too overwhelmed, the system goes out of balance.

There are many implications of a closed airport. My former boss said that the airport is the indicator of a good economy in the area. Once it ceases operations, even temporarily, a lot of sectors become affected. But I feel sorry for those who have to head back to their jobs or second homes whose trip has been ordered. I could only imagine the stress of going through the refunding process and changing plans at the last minute. I'm not a crammer. It becomes worse for those who don't know about the closure. They are forced to find somewhere temporary to stay if their residence is far from Metro Cebu. It’s indeed a bit sudden.

Nonetheless, it’s a bold move to make. I feel like it’s a big sacrifice to put our safety first. Yes, there’s the threat of the new variant therefore the need to make sure those from abroad should be checked thoroughly. However, we also must be wary about local transmission. Again, the strike to balance the economy and public health comes into question.

I miss traveling, I also miss my friends and family from other countries who refused to go home in this pandemic. It's rather a long time already and many things are changing as we go. Will the vaccination speed up our longing to travel and see our loved ones? I doubt it. There are other issues that our leaders have chosen to focus on. For now, I could only close my eyes and imagine planes flying, with me and my important people in it.

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