GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 13 April) — At least 30 stranded foreign tourists and an outbound Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) were flown out from this city to Manila on Good Friday through a special flight facilitated by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
Leonard Flores, head of the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office, said the foreigners were among the documented tourists who were stranded in parts of Region 12 or Soccsksargen due to the grounding of domestic flights since last month.
The flight suspensions were due to the lockdowns implemented in Luzon and other parts of the country in the wake of the increasing confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Flores said DOT-Region 12 personnel were able to account for at least 30 stranded foreigners in coordination with the tourism offices of local government units.
He said they were composed of seven Japanese, five Germans, five Malaysians, three Dutch, three Korean-Filipinos, two British, two Canadian-Filipinos, a Danish, a Swede and an Australian-Filipino.
Most of the foreign tourists previously stayed in this city while the others were located in Sarangani, South Cotabato and Tacurong City, he said.
“All of them were issued medical certificates by concerned city and municipal health offices and submitted evidences that they are fit to travel,” he said in a statement.
Flores said the foreigners, along with a stranded OFWs bound for Singapore, left the city international airport here past 9 a.m. aboard a chartered flight of the Platinum Skies Aviation, Inc.
He said DOT-led “sweeper flight” arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 around 11 a.m.
The special flight and was arranged by DOT-12 with assistance from the city government, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Police Regional Office-12 and the Soccsksargen Regional Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 (Richelyn Gubalani / MindaNews)