DUMAGUETE CITY, July 6 (PIA) -- Philippine Airlines (PAL) has set the schedule of sweeper flights for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) bound for Negros Oriental every Tuesday and Friday for the entire month of July.
Provincial Senior Tourism Operations Officer Myla Mae Abellana disclosed that the Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force-Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF -EID) has approved the schedule of PAL sweeper flights which started on July 3, 2020.
The other dates for PAL Manila-Dumaguete-Manila sweeper flights are July 7 and July 10, July 14 and July 17, July 21 and 24, and July 28 and 31.
Abellana said only PAL has submitted a request to operate sweeper flights bound for Dumaguete to the Provincial IATF-EID but the task force is willing to accommodate sweeper flight requests from other airlines.
With this, Abellana reiterated that LSIs should coordinate first with their Local Government Unit (LGU) before booking a sweeper flight.
"Sa LSI na naa sa Manila or naa sa Luzon, akong klaruhon - get in touch with your local tourism officer or LGU. Ang local tourism officer mao mo-endorse dire sa among opisina sa inyong mga ngalan para maapil mo sa list ug unsa specific flights. Ma-consolidate na na and we will forward that to PAL (I just want to clarify, for LSIs in Manila or Luzon kindly get in touch with the local tourism officer of your LGU. The local tourism officer will endorse the name of the LSI to our office and our office will consolidate the names and forward it to PAL)," Abellana explained.
"Ang tickets para sa LSIs coming here, ang ilang family members, relatives, or friends maoy mopalit. Moadto sa PAL ticketing office sa airport or sa Calindagan. If naa sila existing na ticket kay diba naa daghan na na-rebook ,ipakita lang to, if ever there is a fare difference bayaran ra (It should be the family member, relative or friend of the LSI who should purchase the ticket here, either at the PAL ticketing office in the airport or in Calindagan. If they already have an existing ticket, since there are some who had their flights rebooked, they just have to present it at the ticketing office and pay the fare difference)," Abellana added.
The provincial tourism officer also underscored that PAL will only accommodate individuals whose names appear in the list endorsed by the Provincial Tourism Unit (PTU).
Abellana noted that these measures were put in place so that LGUs in the province will be aware on how many LSIs will be coming in a day and will help them in their preparation in accommodating LSIs.
Based on the Provincial IATF Protocols, LSIs and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) are fetched from the airport by their respective LGUs and are placed directly in a designated quarantine facility in their city or municipality.
As of June 29, a total of 49,970 LSIs and 308 Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWS) have returned to Negros Oriental due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In a similar development, the Provincial IATF-EID together with the mayors have agreed for the gradual resumption of flights and sea trips bound for Negros Oriental in line with the declaration of Modified Community Quarantine (MGCQ) over the province.
In a meeting held at the Provincial Convention Center on July 3, 2020, all the local chief executives in the province agreed to enforce additional requirements for incoming LSIs and ROFs to ensure that they are cleared of COVID-19 when they enter the province.
In addition to travel authority and medical certificate, incoming LSIs should also secure two negative RT-PCR (swab tests) results, acceptance letter from their LGU in Negros Oriental, and confirmed plane or ship tickets.
LSis and ROFs must also undergo 14-day quarantine upon their arrival.
Gov. Roel Degamo earlier said that downgrading of the community quarantine status in the province to MGCQ will entail additional challenge to the LGU and the Provincial IATF-EID since many people are expected to come to the province with the resumption of sea trips and flights.
Degamo also said that while the airport and seaports in the province will be allowed under MGCQ, it will not be implemented immediately since LGUs should craft additional guidelines to ensure the safety and protection of the residents of the province. (ral/PIA7-Negros Oriental)