The Interagency Task Force (IATF) on COVID-19 in Palawan said Saturday that domestic and foreign tourists will be allowed to leave through the San Vicente, Coron, and El Nido airports.

Governor Jose Alvarez during an emergency meeting of the COVID-19 task force said this decision is to allow domestic tourists to return home and for foreign travelers to go back to their countries through international flights.

He said airports in the three towns will remain open but some restrictions will be established to ensure that COVID-19 will not enter the province.

“Bahala na ang airline doon, kung gusto nila singilin ng mahal para makabawi kasi kukunin nila ang mga pasahero dito. Hindi natin pwede abalahin ang mga turista na gusto umalis dito. They can go out from Palawan kasi ang airport naman natin will remain open,” Alvarez said.

“Airports in El Nido and Coron will also remain open but the movement of the passengers that will be bringing in this virus. Puwede natin i-modify ang order, ‘wag muna magpapasok para safe tayo. Although we have many hospitals we are not ready right now,” he said.

Mayor Lucilo Bayron, who is also present in the meeting, said “outgoing flights” will be allowed to transport stranded tourists. However, incoming flights that will fetch them should no longer carry any more passengers.

He said flights that will be commissioned to carry specimens of persons under investigation (PUI) to Manila to the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) will also be allowed to land but should follow strict sanitation procedures.

Bayron said these flights will also be allowed to transport passengers out of the city.

“Hindi namin ia-allow pero kung ang airline ay willing pumunta ng commercial flight tapos ang dala nila ay cargo tapos pagbalik doon dala nila ang tao ay okay lang ‘yon. Pero ‘yong coming in [na may dalang pasahero] ay pagmamatigasan natin ‘yon,” Bayron said.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.