DOTr wants more int’l flights landing in regional airports starting June 1

Pia Ranada

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DOTr wants more int’l flights landing in regional airports starting June 1

The plan will be a big help to overseas Filipino workers returning to hometowns in the Visayas and Mindanao

MANILA, Philippines – With the easing of quarantine measures, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) sees more international flights landing in and departing from international airports outside Metro Manila.

This would decongest the international aviation activity concentrated at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, said Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday, May 28, during a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte and coronavirus task force officials.

“What we will do, once we transition to MECQ to GCQ, is to expand the international aviation gateways to include Clark, Cebu, and Davao,” he said.

The DOTr plans to put up testing facilities at the regional airports to be able to quickly identify and isolate possible coronavirus cases among arriving passengers.

Testing centers are already being built for the Cebu and Clark airports, said Tugade.

A boon for returning OFWs. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, who is also chairman of the National Task Force COVID-19, said allowing more international flights to land in airports in the Visayas and Mindanao will help in bringing home returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

“We can use the other airhubs for OFWs and seafarers. They can be tested there so they aren’t far from their families,” he said in Filipino.

The government is currently struggling with transporting returning OFWs to their hometowns outside Metro Manila. Limited transportation has led to many OFWs stranded in the megacity.

As for domestic air travel, the government will allow this for people going to one general community quarantine (GCQ) area to another GCQ area, said Tugade. –

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Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is Rappler’s Community Lead, in charge of linking our journalism with communities for impact.