BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Philippine Air Lines yesterday issued an advisory that it will only accommodate passengers traveling for “non-leisure” purposes between Manila and their domestic stations, from March 22 to April 4, in compliance with the order of Inter Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
This also developed as Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson is awaiting the reply of the IATF through Health Secretary Francisco Duque and Cabinet secretary Karlo Nograles for his request for a two-week travel moratorium by air-sea and land to Negros Occidental.
PAL said in its advisory that domestic leisure travelers affected by the restrictions may convert their ticket to a travel voucher, unlimited rebooking, or have their tickets refunded without penalties.
For leisure travelers already in a domestic destination and who wish to return home, PAL said it will endeavor to operate flights to Manila, while Returning Overseas Filipino, Locally Stranded Individuals and Authorized Person Outside Residence (APOR) will be accepted in flights, if they secure all requirements mandated by their respective local government units.
Cebu Pacific, in an advisory it issued, said that it will continue to operate flights as scheduled until March 24, with passengers who postpone their flights may select their preferred option such as, rebooking, 2-year travel fund or refund.
Both PAL and Cebu Pacific have Manila-Bacolod-Manila flights.
The Department of Tourism Region 6 also issued an advisory advising all local chief executives, tourism officers and accommodation establishments in Western Visayas that outbound leisure travel is not allowed for those from the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, effective March 22 to April 4 this year, in compliance with IATF Resolution 104.
Lacson, in an interview with DYHB Tatak RMN, said that the provincial government of Negros Occidental will request IATF to exempt the province from its resolution 101, should they deny his request for a travel moratorium.
IATF resolution 101 states that travelers are no longer required to undergo quarantine, and Covid-19 testing is not mandatory, unless the concerned LGU makes it a requirement.
But Lacson also issued an executive order requiring inbound travelers to Negros Occidental to present a negative RT-PCR test results, and registration to S-Pass and StaySafe apps system for contact tracing purposes, that took effect March 15.
Should IATF deny his request for travel moratorium, Lacson said he will request that the provincial government of Negros Occidental be allowed to resume its practice of requiring travelers entering the province to undergo swab testing and quarantine, upon arrival.
Lacson also wants LGUs to be allowed to fetch their residents from the airport or ports.
Despite the implantation of IATF resolution 101, Lacson said there are some inbound travelers, who still avail of voluntary swab testing offered by the provincial government, upon their arrival at the Bacolod-Silay airport, which is free of charge.*