The local government bared its four-phased recovery plan, eyeing international travels by December 2020.

Aileen Cynthia Amurao, city tourism officer (CTO), said Monday that an international “mercy flight” scheduled on August 26 would serve as a dry-run for the eventual tourism reopening.

“Ngayong August 26, mayroon tayong flight from [South] Korea. In-approve na ng Department of Transportation (DOTr). So kung may mga kaibigan kayo na gustong bumalik ng South Korea, mayroong flight na tayo ng August 26 sa [South] Korea,” Amurao informed the City Council.

Amurao clarified however that the dry-run plan was hatched after the flag-carrying airline, Philippine Airlines, informed the CTO of the mercy flight resumption for repatriates.

“Hindi tayo sigurado kung overseas Filipino workers (OFW) lang ba ‘yong mga sakay or mga allowed persons outside residence (APOR) kaya we planned for the eventuality na may mga tao o turista na kasama,” Amurao added.

The passengers would be required to undergo confirmatory tests (RT-PCR) prior to boarding the international flight. Upon arrival, another swab test would be required. However, individuals would not undergo the mandatory 10-day quarantine period and may be allowed to proceed to their destination.

“Hindi naman natin sila pwedeng i-hold kasi ‘yong iba seven days or so lang. Kaya may mga protocols din tayong nakalatag and may change as we go along,” Amurao said.

Designated van or vehicles would be arranged alongside “pre-arranged package” for the projected tourists to limit the human contact between the individuals and the locals. Only accredited travel agencies would be allowed to handle reservations to help contact tracing in case of breach of protocol.

“Gradually, ang nirerecommend namin is by end of this year, by December pa. Pero since we have mercy flights and who knows kung sino ang sakay noon, better we plan for it,” Amurao added.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Puerto Princesa has yet to issue a statement when asked to confirm the resumption of international flights in Puerto Princesa International Airport (PPIA).

(With a report from Jeshyl Guiroy)

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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.