562 stranded Dabawenyos in Luzon fly home Monday and Wednesday

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 02 May) — Five hundred sixty two Dabawenyos stranded in Luzon when travel by land, sea and air was suspended in mid-March to present the spread of COVID-19, will finally come home on board two sweeper flights from Clark, Pampanga and Manila on Monday and Wednesday.

On their turnaround, the sweeper flights will bring to Clark and Manila passengers who were stranded here for the same reason, City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said on Saturday.

Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR) 87.5, Tecson said the 162-seater aircraft of AirAsia from Clark is scheduled to arrive on Monday while the 400-seater aircraft of Cebu Pacific will arrive on Wednesday from Manila.

The aircraft’s passengers from Clark and Manila are Dabawenyo overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other stranded Davao residents.

The sweeper flights, both paid for by the City Government of Davao, will also carry stranded passengers back to Clark and Manila but reminded those who would leave the city that they must present health certificates and letter of acceptance from their respective local government units (LGUs) to ensure that they would be allowed entry into their provinces, she said.

She said passengers from Clark and Manila would be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine before they would be allowed to return home to their families.

Next week’s sweeper flights will be the first in-bound flights carrying stranded Dabawenyos from outside Davao. She said she does not know when the next in-bound flights would be for other stranded Dabawenyos as the city government is shouldering the flight costs.

“Coming to Davao, there are no requirements because upon arrival, that will be the first day of their 14-day mandatory quarantine. You will also get tested here, and then whatever will be the findings, it will be the City Health Office that will provide instructions to them,” she said.

She said tickets will be emailed to the passengers a day before the scheduled flights.

She added that those who want to board the sweeper flights to Clark and Manila  must send their names, birthday, sex, mobile numbers, and email addresses to Davao City Stranded Persons Database Center’s text-only hotlines such as 0956-2441691 and 0951-0868056 or through email at davaocitystrandedpax@gmail.com.

Earlier, Mayor Sara Duterte said local health authorities were wary about allowing stranded passengers to go back to Davao for fear they might bring another wave of infection.

Davao City has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the Davao region, and in Mindanao.

The Department of Health Davao region’s Center for Health Development has recorded 141 cases in the region, 124 of these in Davao City as of 5 p.m. on May 2. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)