COVID-19

Gov’t crafts rules for leisure travel via chartered flights for ‘NCR Plus’ residents

Pia Ranada

A START FOR TOURISM. Leisure travel via chartered planes is now regulated by the government.

File photo

'Point-to-point' air travel for leisure purposes is now being regulated by the government as Metro Manila residents itch for a vacation and the tourism industry continues to bleed from the pandemic

For those who can afford it, travel to resorts through chartered flights is now officially approved by the national government even for people coming from Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Laguna, and Cavite, or the so-called “NCR Plus.”

The national pandemic task force has approved rules crafted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) governing point-to-point air travel for leisure for persons coming from “NCR Plus,” announced Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday, May 7.

The approval was formalized in the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases’ Resolution No. 114.

This means that resorts or other types of accommodation establishments now operating point-to-point services for their “NCR Plus” guests or wish to do so have to seek approval from the government.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat showed Rappler her department’s rules.

Resorts must secure from the DOT regional office of their area a certificate of authority to operate for point-to-point air leisure travel, read the rules.

The requirements for this certificate are the following:

  • Letter of intent to operate a point-to-point travel bubble
  • Endorsement letter or approval from their local government unit allowing the establishment to take in “NCR Plus” guests
  • Implementation plan or any presentation detailing health and safety protocols to be observed from the guests’ point of origin until they reach the establishment, and back (like photos, traffic management plan, demarcations)
  • Plan if guests or employees test positive for COVID-19 or develop symptoms
  • If establishment does not have a transport service (chartered plane service) of its own, a copy of contracts with transport service providers stating that such transportation is for the exclusive use of the applying establishment

Puyat said the Department of Health has only approved chartered flights for leisure travel for “NCR Plus” residents because the area is still under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ), the second strictest quarantine mode in the country.

While both experts in the academe and the government have observed a downward trend in cases, especially in Metro Manila, hospitals remain at critical levels of intensive care unit occupancy. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada is a senior reporter for Rappler covering Philippine politics and environmental issues. For tips and story suggestions, email her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.