The Department of Tourism (DOT) has funded seven sweeper flights for some 1,100 stranded domestic tourists from several parts of the Philippines.
The first three flights facilitated on Friday brought 180 people from Puerto Princesa, 60 from El Nido, and 144 from Caticlan to Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, 136 stranded tourists from Butuan, 149 from Iloilo, and 202 from Davao arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Saturday. The seventh flight is expected to depart Cebu for NAIA on the same day to pick up an expected 177 local tourists but the DOT said it has yet to confirm the number.
At least seven buses were chartered by the DOT-National Capital Region to bring home the tourists mostly residing in Metro Manila, regional director Woodrow Maquiling Jr. earlier said.
Complementing the chartered buses are three vehicles from the Philippine Coast Guard and five e-jeepneys from the Department of Transportation.
Meanwhile, non-NCR residents will be transported by their respective local government units.
The assistance came after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) recently approved the funding of sweeper flights for qualified stranded local tourists from other regions to the NCR.
Since the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in several parts of the country, DOT has assisted over 20,000 people, mostly foreigners, and—in cooperation with Overseas Workers Welfare Administration—more than 12,500 returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) aboard 83 sweeper flights from various domestic gateways and 29 repatriation flights mounted by foreign governments, which transited through the NAIA Terminals. (PNA)