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

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020   •   976

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

P4.5 million worth of shabu seized in Pasay City

Robie de Guzman   •   September 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Customs (BOC) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has seized 640 grams of shabu (crystal meth) estimated to worth P4.5 million in a warehouse in Pasay City.

The contraband was found in an unclaimed parcel at the DHL warehouse.

The BOC said the seized illegal drug was concealed inside tin cans of wafer and packs of chocolates, stuffed toys, candies and slippers to avoid detection.

It was shipped from Las Vegas, Nevada in the United States and consigned to a certain resident of Hagonoy, Bulacan.

However, its contents were detected through “intensified vigilance and profiling BOC-NAIA” and coordinated with Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA and the NAIA Inter-Agency Drug Interdiction Task Group (IADITG).

Chemical Laboratory Analysis conducted by PDEA confirmed that the seized white crystalline substance were indeed methamphetamine hydrochloride.

The BOC said the items have been turned over to the PDEA on Sept. 24 for further profiling and case build-up against those behind its importation for possible prosecution for violation of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 in relation to Section 1401 of the Customs Modernization and Tariff Act.

Boracay Island to open on Oct. 1 for residents from GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the proposed reopening of Boracay Island starting October 1 following recommendation from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Such a move is part of the government’s recovery efforts from the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The resumption of tourism in Boracay would mean residents from areas under general community quarantine, including Metro Manila will soon be allowed to enter the island.

However, the government reminds the public of the strict health and safety protocols that go with the reopening of the famous tourist destination.

One of which is mandatory swab testing for all visitors before they can be allowed entry.

“Isa sa mga requirements na pinag-uusapan iyong RT-PCR (test) bago pumasok doon sa isla (One requirement under discussion is the RT-PCR test before entering the island),” noted Tourism Undersecretary Benito Benzon.

“Mayroon pa ring pagmomonitor ng movements ng mga turista pagpasok sa Boracay, so kailangan may pre-arranged reservations ,may QR code iyan para namomonitor lahat ng pumapasok (Monitoring the movement of tourists inside Boracay remains in place so they need to have pre-arranged reservations, QR code, to monitor every person that comes in),” he added.

For his part, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured that Boracay is now prepared to accept visitors. 

If in any case, a COVID-19 positive slips into the island, the agency has prepared enough facilities for isolation.

“Doon mismo sa Boracay ay mayroon tayong COVID isolation facility doon. Kung mayroong mag-positive or suspected, dadalhin agad sa mainland [Aklan] (There is a COVID isolation facility inside Boracay. In case someone tests positive or suspected of having the disease, the patient will be transferred immediately to the mainland [Aklan]),” the official said.

Well in place ang nakita namin preparations nila (Their preparations are well in place),” he assured. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

BOC destroys tons of seized illegal vape products, other goods

Robie de Guzman   •   September 14, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Around 21 tons of unsafe and hazardous goods were destroyed in a facility in Trece Martires, Cavite, the Bureau of Customs (BOC)-Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) said on Monday.

In a statement, the BOC said the items, which included unregistered vape products, medicines and other supplies, were destroyed on Sept. 9.

The vape products were seized for lack of necessary importation permits from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the bureau added.

Vape products are used for inhalation of vapor created by an electronic cigarette and other similar devices. These items have cartridges filled with liquid that usually contains nicotine, flavorings ad chemicals.

The importation and use of vape products were highly regulated by the FDA in view of its noted health hazards, while the importation of unregistered vape products was prohibited under Republic Act No. 11467.

The BOC-NAIA similarly condemned expired food supplies, dietary supplements, medicines, medical kits and devices, glutathione products which were also imported without the necessary FDA permit.

These products can pose health risks if not disposed properly, the bureau said.

Part of the condemned goods last September 9 were other regulated items such as animal feeds, cements, electrical items, bulbs and batteries that were imported without necessary clearances.

The BOC said it will continue to check unsafe and hazardous goods arriving into the country without the proper approval and safety standards clearance to protect consumers and to ensure that only products certified by regulatory agencies with necessary permits are released in the country’s ports of entry.

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