Travelers bound to and from the province will now have an easier time starting next month with the resumption of Cebu Pacific Air’s regular flight schedule prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, the provincial government, through the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Incident Management Team Against COVID-19, informed the local office of the Aviation Ground Handling Services Corporation that services the airline at Virac Airport that its proposal to resume its old Monday-Wednesday-Friday-Sunday flight schedule has been approved beginning April 1, 2021.
Incident Commander Dr. Angel Albert Lamban, however, reiterated the provincial government’s reminded for the airline to strictly adhere to health and safety protocols during the scheduled flights to curb the spread of the virus, especially now that active cases are rising in the province.
He said that the approval of the Cebu Pacific proposal is intended to serve the expected increase in the number of inbound and outbound passengers due to the implementation of uniform travel protocols set forth in Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 101, series of 2021.
The EOC-IMT action was subsequently communicated to the airline by Dr. Lamban, as noted by Governor Joseph C. Cua last March 9, 2021.
The Capitol’s action on the airline proposal comes on the heels of the decision of the national government through the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to allow Bicol-bound passenger buses to resume trips to provincial destinations, including Tabaco City, beginning Monday, March 15.
Last week, Gov. Cua told the local media that he would write the IATF to allow provincial governments to require the antigen or saliva test for travelers upon entry.
Citing the recent spike in new COVID-19 cases as “very alarming,” he said that “to be safe,” ordinary travelers and tourists alike should at least undergo rapid test which is much cheaper at P600 per test kit and with the result known within five minutes.
The standard RT-PCR test, on the other hand, costs at least P1,500, with the result taking a few days.
We need tourism as it provides livelihood for guides, accommodation establishments and producers of native products, the governor stressed, but we don’t know when the pandemic will end.
He said he is glad that President Duterte did not proceed to declare MGCQ in Metro Manila, otherwise it would have sent thousands of travelers to the provinces, potentially spreading the virus.