Gov’t, private sectors unite to bring over 10,000 foreign tourists to NAIA, Clark Int’l Airport

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020   •   1047

Passengers rush to catch last plane out amid lockdown in the Philippines (19 March 2020)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with several government agencies and various domestic airlines, have joined forces to ferry more than 10,000 foreign tourists from different parts of the country to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

This measure is aimed at assisting these foreign tourists who were stranded in the country due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to be able to go back to their respective countries.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this will help lessen the stranded tourists in the various islands in the country.

“The Department of Tourism has been doing everything within its resources to ease the congestion in the different regions by facilitating the movement of foreign tourists stranded in the different islands of the country,” Puyat said in a statement.

Over the weekend, 7,915 tourists were brought to the two airports through the sweeper flights of different domestic airlines, such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Air Swift, as well as chartered flights.

DOT regional offices also assisted the stranded tourists in Luzon via land transport.

The Philippine Coast Guard, on the other hand, helped ferry those in Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, and Cebu through inter-island vessels.

Shuttle services and hotel accommodations were arranged for several stranded tourists who were also given free foods and hygienic items while waiting for their flights at the NAIA.

Other sweeper flights were also used for those in Iloilo, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.

Three more sweeper flights are also being prepared for the others in Davao and Puerto Princesa to be transported on Thursday (March 26).

Two sweeper flights are also scheduled for tourists on Boracay island for transportation on Thursday, and four more over the weekend. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

DOT announces reopening of Siargao Island

Maris Federez   •   November 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Saturday (November 21) the upcoming reopening of one of the country’s premier destinations — Siargao Island.

In an advisory, the DOT said the teardrop-shaped island, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, is set to welcome local tourists to its world-class white sand beaches, natural rock and cave pools, romantic sunsets, and wild water surf sites again on November 23.

The department said this was confirmed by Mayor Cecilia L. Ruson of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte thru a local executive order.

“This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for,” Secretary Puyat enthused.

The advisory added that with the resumption of flights to Siargao on December 1, “tourists can visit the country’s most well-known surf spots through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and Heneral Luna and discover a variety of hidden attractions.”

In compliance with IATF directives and local COVID management procedures, the Siargao LGU has set minimum health and safety standards and COVID testing requirements before tourists arrive on the island.

Tourists arriving via Surigao City/Sayak Airport will be required an e-Health Pass with valid ID; Negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours from point of origin; a five-day confirmed booking from an accommodation establishment with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the Department of Tourism, and a round-trip ticket/travel details, the advisory further said, as part of the protocol.

However, if the RT-PCR is taken more than 48 hours of departure from point of origin, a negative antigen swab will be required on the day of arrival.

Tourists from the province of Surigao del Norte, on the other hand, will be required an e-health pass with valid ID; certificate from the barangay captain that traveler is not a close contact; confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment (AE).

Meanwhile, hotels and resorts will be allowed to operate once they completed their business permit; a certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the DOT; E-Health System Registration; E-Health pass or QR code reader and new normal protocols approved by the Municipal Health Office.

The advisory added that curfew will also be enforced from 11:00PM to 4:00AM. — /mbmf

Customs NAIA seizes $38,700 US Dollar bills hidden inside magazines

Robie de Guzman   •   November 17, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) on Tuesday said its operatives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have intercepted a total of $38,700 US Dollar bills concealed between pages of magazines.

In a statement, the BOC said the bills were found hidden inside three packages in Fedex Warehouse.

The parcels, misdeclared as “documents,” arrived on Nov. 2. These were all sent by a certain Jacqueline Paas from the United States of America and are consigned to individuals from Poblacion, Muntinlupa City.

When subjected to 100% physical examination, the packages were found to contain the smuggled banknotes.

Just last week, the BOC NAIA similarly intercepted US$13,500 undeclared foreign currencies.

In sum, for the year 2020, the port issued Warrants of Seizure and Detention against various currencies with aggregate equivalent value of Php29,875,000.

“The seized foreign currencies shall be subjected to seizure and forfeiture proceedings in violation of Sections 1400 (Misdeclaration) and 1113 of R.A. No. 10863 (CMTA) in relation to the R.A. 7653 (New Central Bank Act) and BSP Foreign Exchange Transaction Manual,” the BOC said.

The bureau reminded the public that the BSP Manual of Foreign Exchange Transaction requires the faithful declaration and accomplishment of Foreign Currency Declaration Forms for importation and exportation of foreign currency in excess of USD10,000 or its equivalent.

DOT authorizes operation of 7,200 hotels, resorts under quarantine classifications

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 10, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has authorized the operation of over 7,200 hotels, resorts, and other accommodation establishments under quarantine classifications.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced that the regions with the highest number of hotels and resorts issued with the Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) are Region 4-A with 1,303, Region 3 with 830, and Region 1 with 806.

“It likewise adds to guests’ confidence, knowing that these establishments have been inspected and are compliant with our protocols that follow globally-recognized health and safety standards,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Tourism Department announced that inbound travel to the Philippines for tourism remains restricted.

Puyat said the department aims to boost domestic tourism in order to recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We will continue our thorough inspection of the health and safety protocols in tourism establishments, so when non-essential travel among Filipinos and even inbound travel for leisure among foreign visitors are allowed, these will be ready,” she added.

Visit www.philippines.travel/accreditation for the full list of AEs with DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate. AAC

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