Coronavirus scare reduces NAIA passenger traffic —MIAA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020   •   581

MANILA, Philippines – The threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has reduced passenger traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said Wednesday.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said that from January 27 to February 17, the country’s main gateway only handled a total of 1,352,692 international passengers compared to 1,624,698 passengers in the same period in 2019.

Domestic passenger traffic at NAIA also went down to 1,406,876 from January 27 to February 17 compared with 1,456,705 in the same period last year.

“It’s a lost opportunity but at the end of the day, there’s still time to recover and hopefully, we’ll be able to recover soon,” Monreal told reporters at a Palace briefing.

The MIAA chief added that the aviation sector is now slowly recovering from its losses after the government fully lifted the travel restrictions on Taiwan, and allowed Filipino overseas workers, students and permanent residents to leave for Hong Kong and Macau.

“So ngayon po, slowly recovering dahil sa mga pagbabago at panukala dahil sa mga pag-uusap ng task force na ipinatutupad ng task force and hopefully our local tourism will recover soon,” he said.

The Philippine government earlier implemented an entry ban for passengers who traveled to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

It later expanded the travel ban to include Taiwan but was eventually lifted on February 14.

On Tuesday, the government announced that Filipino workers, students and permanent residents bound for Hong Kong and Macau are exempted from the outbound travel ban “subject to certain procedural formalities.”

Meanwhile, Monreal expressed hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease will find a solution to the concerns raised by local airline companies on the safety protocols relating to the travel of its crew to Hong Kong and Macau.

Local carriers have earlier expressed concern on the reduced number of personnel if their crewmembers will constantly be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period after their flights to and from Hong Kong and Macau.  

“Kung ganoon po ang proseso na mayroon pa ho silang quarantine yung mga crew, medyo mahihirapan po sila na magmount ng flights dito kahit po may temporary lifting ng mga pasahero na papunta ng Hong Kong at pabalik po,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Manila LGU to open drive-through RFID installation

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 30, 2020

The Manila City government is set to launch the RFID Sticker Caravan which offers drive-through installation of Radio-frequency identification stickers.

MAHALAGANG ANUNSYO: Bilang suporta sa Department of Transportation (DOTr) Order 2020-012 na naglalayong gawing ‘cashless…

Posted by Manila Public Information Office on Wednesday, October 28, 2020

The caravan will be held from October 31 to November 1 at the Kartilya ng Katipunan near Manila City Hall in Ermita, Manila. The drive-through RFID installation will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will accommodate class 1 vehicles which are cars, SUVs and passenger vans only.

Motorists do not need to prepare any documents but must prepare P200 for the initial load. Authorities also advised motorists to wear face masks and face shields. AAC

Davao City to reimpose 24-hour liquor ban starting Nov. 2

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2020

A 24-hour liquor ban will be reimposed in Davao City from November 2 to December 31, Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Under Executive Order No. 59, Duterte ordered the ban of sale, serving, and consumption of alcoholic beverages in public effective 5 a.m. of November 2.

The reimposition of the liquor ban stemmed from the results of City Health Office contact tracing of patients positive of the coronavirus showing their exposure during drinking sessions. 

“There is an urgent need to reimpose a 24-hour liquor ban in Davao City to prevent the exposure of individuals to the COVID-19 virus because of their unbridled drinking sessions,” Duterte said in the order. 

Mayor Sara also emphasized the necessity to reimpose the 24-hour liquor ban as another preventive step to control gatherings and stop the cases from spiking because the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) and Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facilities (TTMFs) has reached their full occupancy of the COVID-19.

To recall, Duterte lifted the 24-hour liquor ban on September 21 after six months of restrictive community quarantine.

The city government warned to impose a one strike rule on establishments violating the liquor ban.

The city’s Vices Regulation Unit and Barangay Council were also tasked to conduct vigorous surveillance of all restaurants, fast-food, sari-sari stores, and similar establishments and must immediately move for the closure of an establishment after a single violation is properly documented.

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119 smuggled live tarantulas seized at NAIA – BOC

Robie de Guzman   •   October 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Operatives of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have prevented another attempt of illegal wildlife trade by intercepting 119 live tarantulas this week.

The BOC on Friday said the live tarantulas were found concealed inside rubber shoes in DHL warehouse last Oct. 28.

The parcel, declared as “buty” — a Polish word for shoes— was shipped by a certain “Michal Krolicki” from Poland to a consignee in General Trias, Cavite.

“Through the vigilance of Customs operatives and examiners, the package yielded suspicious images, and was subjected to physical examination,” the BOC said in a statement.

Customs examiners uncovered different species of live tarantulas in individual plastic vials.

The seized tarantulas were immediately turned over to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources Wildlife Traffic Monitoring Unit (DENR WTMU) on October 29 for proper handling and disposal, the bureau said.

This is not the first time that the BOC intercepted smuggled wildlife species in NAIA.

In 2019, Customs NAIA intercepted 757 live tarantulas concealed inside oatmeal and cookie boxes and 87 live spiders inside white plastic canisters, both exported from Poland.

Tarantulas are classified as endangered wildlife species, and illegal wildlife trading is penalized with imprisonment of six months and one day to one year and a fine of P10,000 to P200,000 pursuant to Republic Act (RA) No. 9147 or the Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act; while unlawful importation is penalized with not less than 30 days and one day but not more than six months or a fine of not less than P25,000 but not more than P75,000, or both, if the appraised value of goods unlawfully imported, including duties and taxes, does not exceed Php250,000.00 under Section 1401 of RA 10863 or the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

The BOC-NAIA assured that despite the pandemic, it will sustain collective effort to protect the country’s premier airport against all fraudulent attempts to import and/or export endangered wildlife species, aside from dangerous drugs and other high risk and dangerous contrabands that pose threat to national security and public health.

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