272 stranded foreigners flown out of Davao

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 19 April) -– A total of 272 passengers in Davao Region stranded here since the lockdown was enforced on March 15 were flown to Manila from the Davao International Airport (DIA) on Saturday afternoon.

City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said in a text message on Sunday that a sweeper flight from Philippine Airlines (PAL), deployed by the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, arrived in the city to fetch not only their stranded nationals but also Canadian, American, Japanese, and Norwegian nationals.

She said the aircraft left for Manila at around 2 p.m. on the same day.

A Philippine Airlines plane taxis along the runway of the Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City. File photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

“They all had forwarding tickets to their international destination. This is outbound only and passengers must have connecting flights going to Australia or other countries,” she said.

Mayor Sara Duterte, concurrent chair of the Davao Region COVID-19 Task Force, placed the entire region under lockdown, suspending sea, land and air travels last March 19 to help contain the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In Executive Orders 12 and 13, Duterte ordered the suspension of domestic and international flights effective immediately in pursuance of Presidential Proclamation 922 placing the country “in a state of public health emergency in relation to national security.”

The main entrance for departures at the Davao International Airport in Davao City on 16 March 2020. Flights to and from Manila were suspended as travel to and from Metro Manila by land, sea, and air was suspended effective March 15, to prevent the spread of COVID-19. MindaNews photo by MANMAN DEJETO

The Davao International Airport has six international flights—the Cathay Dragon’s Davao-Hong Kong-Davao, Cebu Pacific’s Davao-Singapore-Davao, Garuda Indonesia’s Davao-Manado-Davao, Qatar Airways’ Davao-Qatar-Davao, SilkAir’s Davao-Singapore-Davao, and XiamenAir’s Davao-Quanzhou-Davao—and 21 domestic flights, serviced by various airlines.

The Davao-Hong Kong-Davao and Davao-Quanzhou-Davao flights were suspended since February.  (Antonio L. Colina IV/ MindaNews)