City legislators urged local officials facilitating mercy flights for stranded city residents to have “better communication and coordination” in order to maximize the flights that are being paid for by the passengers themselves.
Councilor Patrick Hagedorn on Monday pointed out that passengers on sweeper flights have ended up paying more than regular commercial flight fares.
Since the mercy flights are arranged as special flights, the passengers effectively pay a chartered rate, based on the price range set by the airline companies.
“Sweeper flights, which is more expensive than commercial flights – parang anti-poor dahil ang nakakabili lang niyan ay ‘yong mga may kaya,” Hagedorn said.
Joel E. Paredes, branch manager of Philippine Airlines (PAL) Puerto Princesa City, said that price for “chartered” flights was set by the head office based on the reduced capacity of the aircraft. The flag-carrier airline’s current price for each seat ranges from P8,000 to P9,000, Paredes said.
Louie Fe Nacasi, deputy manager of AirAsia Inc. Puerto Princesa City, said that for their airline, the price is usually set at P4,800.
“‘Yong mga umuuwi rin dito ay kababayan natin sa Palawan na gustong makasama ang pamilya,” Hagedorn added.
Councilor Elgin Damasco, affirmed Hagedorn’s statement and stressed that most individuals have lost their jobs and merely wanted to return home.
Hagedorn also expressed concern over a report that an overseas Filipino worker (OFW), a Filipino teacher from an unknown province, hanged himself in the balcony of his apartment in an apparent suicide in Nonthaburi, Thailand, apparently out of desperation.
The City Incident Management Team (IMT) and City Health Office (CHO) were requested for next week’s Question Hour to apprise the local legislative body on the recent updates and current protocols set on the management of returning LSIs.
Over 2,000 city residents and more than 4,000 provincial residents are reportedly still waiting for a chance to return to the province.