Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has instructed the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) to defer payment for take-off, landing, and parking fees of local airlines to cushion the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the airline industry.
“We are in a situation that is not of our own liking nor of our own making. There is an emergency. Can the government not do things that can assuage the emergency? We need to extend our arm to all. Let it not be said that we did not do a thing,” Secretary Tugade said.
In a press briefing held earlier today, 09 March 2020, both MIAA and CAAP have stressed that the decision was made to extend help to airlines amid the decrease of airline passengers, and flights due to COVID-19. CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco shared:
“Sa CAAP, we have considered deferring payment on parking and landing while there is a threat of COVID-19.”
Local airlines operating in MIAA, and under CAAP are covered by the order. MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said deferred charges for local carriers total about P58-million a month.
Local airlines operating under CAAP will save P37-million a month in terms of deferred take-off, landing, and parking fees.
The airlines will pay the deferred charges once the COVID-19 threat in the country is lifted.
“We’re seeing about P58-million a month in terms of expenses that will cover take-off, landing, parking sa NAIA. Deferred payment lang po muna ang ie-extend natin. Hangga’t nandyan po ang COVID-19 ipapatupad po natin ‘yan.”
“Mayroon kaming scheme na ipapatupad. Magkakaroon kami ng time to revisit and evaluate on how we can recover,” GM Monreal added.
When asked on the length of the deferment, DG Sydiongco said, “Tinitingnan natin kung paano silang makaka-recover that’s why we’re talking about over a year of deferment and over a year of payment.”
Aside from the deferment of fees, the aviation and airports sector is also encouraging airlines to help boost local tourism. Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the CAB will be encouraging airlines to servive local destinations to promote local tourism and “at least cut the losses of the airlines.”
Meanwhile, GM Monreal also assured airline passengers that the NAIA is being sanitized and disinfected round the clock.
“Every 30-minutes meron pong naglilinis, sa domestic nagdagdag pa po tayo ng thermal scanner,” he said.
This was echoed by DOTr Undersecretary for Legal Affairs Atty. Reinier Paul Yebra who said the DOTr has taken a holistic approach in disinfecting all transportation hubs in the country.
For the maritime sector, the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) has given its directives to ports under its jurisdiction to closely-coordinate with the respective quarantine office and strictly implement passenger screening at arrival areas.
PPA General Manager Jay Santiago said that stringent security measures have been in place especially in areas frequently visited by tourists.
Face masks and sanitizers are being distributed to frontline employees.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) likewise advised all medical units in its 13 Coast Guard Districts to be on high alert to block the possible spread of COVID-19.
For the road sector, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), through Memorandum Circular (MC) 2020-005 has mandated all public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and conductors to wear face masks at all times while on duty, and for all franchise holders to ensure compliance.
All terminals have been ensuring proper sanitation and cleanliness in their premises, and have been providing face masks as well as disinfectants or sanitizers for their passengers.
For its part, the railways sector has instructed its station and security frontline personnel to wear appropriate face masks, and ensure that hand sanitizers and soaps are available for use in restrooms as well as in other strategic areas inside stations.
Train interiors and station premises, specifically those that are frequently touched by commuters, are being disinfected on a regular basis.
Periodic announcements of reminders for preventive actions that could help prevent transmission of the virus are being projected in strategic locations.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a State of Public Health Emergency yesterday, 08 March 2020, following confirmation by the Department of Health of a 10th COVID-19 case in the Philippines.
Under the said declaration, all government agencies and local government units are enjoined to render full assistance and cooperation in the mobilization of necessary resources to contain the COVID-19 threat.