Two airlines have announced the resumption of their commercial flights in Bohol this week as the country in June eased movement and business restrictions to begin a phased revival of the national economy.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines posted on their websites that they will start flights between Manila and Bohol on June 5 and June 3, respectively.
PAL, in its Advisory No. 63, said that after the June 5 flights, they will start their Manila-Panglao-Manila flights scheduled on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays effective on June 8.
AirAsia on the other hand announced that it will “gradually resume services” in the country on June 3 but did not release a schedule.
It only detailed which routes will reopen and these included the Manila-Tagbilaran (Panglao) route.
According to PAL-Tagbilaran Senior Sales Associate Jessa Apat, they opened their ticketing office in the city on Tuesday but will operate only until Friday as further directives are awaited.
“Until Friday lang ta as of karon, walay pa miy office Saturday and Sunday kay depende na na kung naa miy approval na mag-open ta og balik,” she said.
She said that cheapest fare for their flights to Bohol was set at P3,399 while the lowest price for Manila-bound flights was at P2,866.
Dr. Yul Lopez, spokesperson of the Capitol’s technical working group on emerging infectious diseases, said that they will still have to discuss today the scheduled resumption of flights nationwide.
Lopez said that at his level he has not received notices from both airlines or any other firm expressing intent to resume operations in the province.
“Not yet as the TWG is concerned, but probably I would like to refer this to the governor kung naa ba at his level ingon ani na coordination,” he added. “This will be subject to discussion karong adlaw.”
Lopez said that it would be ideal to test all of the incoming passengers for coronavirus disease (COVID) 19 infection but admitted that this would be difficult to implement.
The health official also noted that the resumption of domestic flights is not an isolated issue in Bohol as it is likely that other local government units (LGU) across the country have also expressed concern over the development.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roquie in a press briefing on Monday said that some LGUs are “refusing” the resumption of domestic flights out of fear that it would hamper their efforts to fend off COVID-19 in their areas of responsibility.
“I talked to CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board] and CAAP [Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines] at apparently, ang nagiging problema are the local government units are refusing to admit passengers from the domestic flights,” Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.
For his part, Carlito Galvez Jr., chief implementer of the national policy on COVID-19, said the Department of Transportation has submitted guidelines on local flights.
There will be a consultations with LGUs to discuss the guidelines, he added.
Metro Manila is among the worst-hit regions by the COVID-19 pandemic while Bohol, according to local health authorities, has zero active cases of the disease. (with R. Tutas)