The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is yet to determine the feasibility of opening the Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA), after city mayor Lucilo Bayron expressed concern over transportation secretary Arthur Tugade’s push to reopen airports in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas.

Eric Apolonio, CAAP spokesperson, in an exclusive interview with Palawan News Monday, clarified that Tugade’s statement was a mere directive that would have to be studied by the inter-agency task force (IATF).

“Secretary Tugade directed, but that’s not an order na kailangan sundin agad. Pag-aaralan pa ‘yan without violating any rule. Kung puwede, puwede. Kung hindi, wala tayong magagawa,” Apolonio said.

Bayron, in a letter addressed to Tugade issued on Sunday, asked the transportation secretary to “seriously econsider” reopening of regional airports in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) citing the lack of medical facilities, personnel, and supplies of Puerto Princesa in case a resurge of COVID-19 would happen.

Apolonio reiterated that Tugade’s directive would have to be concurred by the IATF.

“Hindi naman dahil sinabi ng DOTr, susunod na lahat. Ida-direct ang issue sa IATF,” Apolonio said.

Bayron’s concern would be forwarded to the IATF to ensure that proper procedure would be followed, according to Apolonio.

Apolonio also stressed that the hub-spoke model would only entail between areas under the same conditions.

“‘Yong proseso ng GCQ airport to airport na GCQ lang ‘yan. Hindi puwede ‘yong ECQ to GCQ para maiwasan ‘yong spread ng virus [from areas with a high number of recorded COVID-positive cases],” Apolonio added.

PPIA caters domestic flights to and from Manila, Clark, Cebu, and Iloilo, all of which remain under ECQ.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.