New navigation system to boost operations, night flights at Bohol-Panglao airport

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2019   •   485

Bohol-Panglao International Airport

MANILA, Philippines – The operations and number of flights at the country’s first eco-airport, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport (BPIA), is expected to increase with the installation of new navigation systems, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Wednesday.

Beginning Sept. 1, the BPIA has extended its operating schedule from 12 hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.) to 16 hours (6 a.m. to 10 p.m.) due to the installation, full calibration, testing and operationalization of several ground-based navigational equipment, such as distance measuring equipment (DME), localizer antenna, ground-based radio navigational aid, and instrument landing system (ILS).

In a statement, the DOTr said the newly-installed systems provide precise and systematic launching and landing of aircraft.

These complement the existing satellite-based navigation system at the BPIA, which has limited capacity at night and in the occurrence of weather disturbances.

The department believes that with both navigation systems in operation, more flights can be accommodated and airfare will be reduced providing additional travel options to the people and guests of Bohol province.

The Bohol-Panglao International Airport is the first airport in the Philippines that uses renewable and sustainable structures.

The airport was inaugurated in November 2018 by President Rodrigo Duterte.

It can accommodate up to two million passengers – double the number of the passengers in the Tagbilaran Airport which officially closed last year.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General Jim Sydiongco said the extended hours of BPIA operation are part of the airport’s continuing development towards a more efficient and optimum utilization of its facilities.

“The more flights we can accommodate, the more benefits we can offer to our air passengers. This has always been the focal guidance of (Transportation) Secretary Art Tugade – to enhance the connectivity, mobility, and comfort of the Filipino people,” Sydiongco said.

Tugade, for his part, expressed enthusiasm over the improvements at the Bohol-Panglao International airport, noting their forthcoming impact on the economy of Bohol.

“We do not just stop with building airports. We also continuously upgrade them to truly enhance the travel experience of Filipinos. The improvements we made here at BPIA will ultimately impact on regional economic growth and development. That is what our President meant when he told us to give Filipinos a comfortable life,” Tugade said.

Sara Duterte urges DOTr to require pre-departure COVID-19 test on airline passengers

Robie de Guzman   •   June 2, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Davao City government is proposing for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to impose a policy requiring airline passengers to undergo a health screening before departure.

In an interview at the Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte said the city government has been eyeing to implement this requirement for people flying out of Davao City to ensure that all airline passengers are free from novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Duterte said they have already proposed this to the DOTr considering that it is more difficult to conduct contact tracing if ever one passenger later turns out positive of the dreaded disease.

She said the screening should be done one to three days before the scheduled flight.

“During sa discussion namo, niingon ang doctor, kung diri ta mag-check ang mahitabo ana kung duna’y positive, mahurot ka-quarantine ang mga airport employees and pati mga airline crew. Nagsulti ang doctor dapat daw ang testing should be done before departure dili upon arrival,” she said.

(During our discussion, the doctor said that if we do the testing here, the worst case scenario is if one will test postive, all airport employees and airline crew will be placed on quarantine. The doctor said that the testing should be done before departure and not upon arrival.)

“So nagsulat mi sa DOTR ug sa national level, nagpadala ta og mga suggestions, nag-ingon ta nga diri sa Davao we will prepare testing before departure, so dapat ang tanang airports ang testing nila is before departure. So kung naa tay makuha nga positive sa mga pasahero, dili na siya makasakay,” she added.

(So we wrote a letter to the DOTr and to the national level, we sent suggestions that here in Davao, we will prepare testing before departure, so it should be done in all airports before departure. So if we find one positive possanger, then he/she ca no longer board the plane.)

Currently, the city only implements testing of passengers arriving via sweeper flights.

Mayor Sara also said that bus and van trips should also be arranged first before allowing commercial flights to resume.

“Nagsulti pud mi nga before i-resume ang commercial flights, ayuson sa ang bus trips ug vans, because kung naa ta’y commercial trips nga moabot ang [mouliay gawas sa Davao City] ma stranded siya sa airport tungod limited ang bus ug vans,” she said. 

(We also informed them that before commercial flights resume, bus and van trips should be fixed first because if we allow commercial flights without transportation outside of Davao City) then they will be stranded here due to limited bus and van trips.)

The city currently allows one bus trip every day and it will be on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.

Augmentation buses provided at selected MRT stations for commuters missing train rides

Marje Pelayo   •   June 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTR) is mobilizing augmentation bus service for workers and the general public who will not make it on MRT trains due to the expected surge of commuters on the first day of general community quarantine or GCQ in Metro Manila on Monday (June 1).

Starting today, two lanes in EDSA will operate exclusively for augmentation buses, specifically the ones near the MRT stations. 

Initially, the Transportation Department has allowed 90 bus units to operate from June 1 to 15 with limited passenger capacity.

“According to DOTr rail sector, kailangan nila ng 90 buses. Iyan po ang sinabi nilang kakulangan sa transportasyon along the rail line [The DOTr Rail Sector asked for 90 buses. Those are what they need for transport augmentation along the rail lines],” said Atty. Martin Delgra, chairman of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Designated bus stops are also placed under selected MRT stations where these buses may load and unload passengers. 

These bus stops are in MRT north Avenue, MRT Quezon Avenue station, Ayala station and Taft station. 

Ang mangyayari po dito ang mga pasahero po ay ipi-pick up sa North Avenue at Quezon Avenue. Doon na lang po ang magiging drop-off at pick-up points papasok sa special lane na ibinahagi o ibibigay sa buses na ito. Diretso na po iyan,” noted Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Spokesperson Celine Pialago.

Ang babaan na lamang po nila ay ang Ayala Station at ang Taft Station. Pagdating doon lalabas na po doon papunta sa sidewalk para makababa po ang mga commuters,” she added.

Lanes in EDSA will also be reorganized, according to the DOTr, with the outer lanes to be assigned for bicycles and motorbikes while the middle lanes for private vehicles.

Meanwhile, cashless payment is also being encouraged among public transport vehicle owners to avoid direct contact. 

At present, several taxi and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) operators have installed automated collection systems in their respective units. 

The DOTr assured that no fare increase will be allowed for now among mass transport vehicles. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

PH to use cashless payment system in taxis to further curb COVID-19 spread – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   May 22, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday said it is working on forging partnerships with various digital payment providers for the implementation of cashless or contactless transactions in taxis and Transport Network Service Vehicles (TNVS) as part of the “new normal” amid the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

In a statement, the DOTr said it has tapped payment platforms to help equip taxis and TNVS with scan-to-pay systems to limit direct physical contact between drivers and passengers, thus further curbing the spread of COVID-19.

Taxis and Transport Network Companies (TNC) are allowed to operate in areas placed under general community quarantine at reduced capacity and with strict health and safety protocols.

“Cashless and contactless payment scheme will now be part of the ‘new normal’ in the public transportation system,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The DOTr said one of the first to tie-up with the government for this purpose is GCash.

Under the partnership, GCash will help enable taxi drivers to accept digital payments through the Scan To Pay app where GCash users only need to scan the unique QR code of the taxi unit they are riding in paying for their metered fares.

GCash is also offering the GCash PowerPay+ solution to taxi operators where they can send out salaries, allowances, and commissions through to their employees, or members nationwide, the DOTr said.

“GCash strongly supports the government’s call for the use of mobile payments to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 through surfaces such as paper money,” GCash Head of Payments Jovit Bajar said.

Authorities are also in talks with other payment platforms PayMaya, Squidpay and Beep, among others, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said in the same statement.

“We had consultations with these providers over the weekend. We are encouraging these digital payment providers to partner with taxi operators and TNCs to lessen the chance of COVID-19 spread,” LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III said.

“On the part of the TNCs such as Hirna, Grab and Owto, they are already accepting cashless transactions,” he added.

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