Gordon bats for reopening of Subic Airport for OFW repatriation efforts
Robie de Guzman • June 22, 2020 • 356
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Ricard Gordon has renewed his call for the reopening of the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) to accommodate flights carrying repatriating overseas Filipino workers (OFW) amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
In a statement on Sunday, Gordon pointed out that the Subic Airport is “very suitable” for receiving arriving OFWs because it has facilities for the accommodation, testing, and quarantine of repatriates.
He also said that the newly opened Philippine Red Cross molecular laboratory in Subic and Clark can also accommodate a combined capacity for running up to 4,000 tests a day.
Gordon noted that more than 300,000 OFWs are expected to arrive in the next three to four months, and diverting flights carrying repatriates to SBIA would help facilitate their testing and immediate travel to their respective provinces after their test results have been released.
“Kahapon kinausap ko si Sec. Art Tugade at sabi ko Art, matagal ka nang nangangako sa kin, buksan mo na ‘yung airport ng Subic para diyan maglanding ‘yung ibang OFWs para ma-test na sila kaagad-agad,” he said.
Gordon also said that arriving ships carrying Filipino seafarers can dock at the Subic seaport.
“Dati sa Manila Bay sila nagte-test, ang hirap pumasok. Sa Subic, kalmado ang tubig kaya mas madaling pasukin ng Coast Guard ‘yung mga barko para makapag-swab sila sa mga seafarers,” he said.
Gordon further said that using the SBIA for OFW repatriation efforts could jumpstart the resumption of its operations for international flights and reactivate its tourism industry.
“Once we have tested everybody here we can advertise to the whole world, ‘we have already tested all the employees here, we have tested everyone here so now you are welcome to come down here.’ And jobs can be generated right away,” he said.
Gordon said a P500-million budget has been allocated in the 2019 budget for the rehabilitation of the SBIA.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) said they will not conduct any arrest during the first three days of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
PNP Chief PGen. Archie Gamboa said they will implement maximum tolerance at all times and will only serve warnings to quarantine violators during the three-day headstart. This would give the public time to adjust to the National Capital Region’s shift to MECQ.
“Bibigyan natin ang publiko ng swift warning on the first initial days of violations kasi kung nag-adjust ang PNP, nag-aadjust din sila and ang reminder ko lang ay maximum tolerance on the part of the PNP especially the women and elderly kung may lalabas man na elderly (We will give the public a swift warning in the first initial days of violations because if the PNP has to adjust, so do they. My only reminder is maximum tolerance on the part of the PNP especially for the women and the elderly),” he said.
The PNP Chief also reminds the public to cooperate with authorities and not provoke any officers.
“Sana naman the public will cooperate, para hindi mapilitan ang PNP na mag impose ng regulation. So please, we want the cooperation of the public para maiwasan natin ang confrontation sa checkpoint (I hope the public will cooperate and not force the PNP to impose regulation. So we want the cooperation of the public to avoid confrontation at checkpoints),” Gamboa said.
Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Bulacan have been placed under MECQ until August 18. AAC (with reports from Lea Ylagan)
The Philippine Navy on Tuesday (August 4) redeployed its troops to man quarantine checkpoints in areas under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
The troops are set to aid other law enforcement agencies in ensuring an orderly and strict implementation of quarantine guidelines to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
“The Philippine Navy with the help of its stakeholders will also double its efforts to help the national government combat this unprecedented global pandemic,” the Philippine Navy said in a statement. AAC
To protect public transport commuters against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), they will be required to wear face shields, beginning August 15, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
Based on a memorandum circular of the DOTr, transport sector leaders are directed to implement a “no-face shield, no- ride” policy which will be effective in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
DOTr Spokesperson Goddes Hope Libiran said transmission is very critical in public transportation.
“Nag-add tayo ng stricter health and sanitation protocol, iyong pagsusuot ng full-face shield sa pasahero (We added stricter health and sanitation protocol which includes wearing full-face shields),“ she said.
Meanwhile, Taytay, Rizal has already released an ordinance on mandatory face shields.
Several commuters, however, raised concerns over additional expenses amid the pandemic. The DOTr said it is better to purchase face shields instead of paying for hospital bills later due to infection. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)
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