Mayor seeks flight halt to and from nCov-hit areas

Airline passengers at the Iloilo airport wear facial masks, an indication of the heightened concern on the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak. (F. A. Angelo)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas requested the three major airlines in the country to voluntarily suspend their remaining flights to and from countries with confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease.

Treñas made the request Friday in a letter addressed to Philippine Airlines Iloilo station branch manager Ricky dela Cruz, Cebu Pacific Air Iloilo station airport performance manager Kirk Warren Patricio, and Air Asia Iloilo ground operations duty manager Carlo Tabaosares.

“Due to rising cases of nCoV globally and three reported positive cases in the Philippines, may we respectfully ask that you voluntarily cease your international flights to and from countries positive with nCoV immediately,” he said.

Cebu Pacific has announced the suspension of all Hong Kong to Iloilo inbound and outbound flights from February 4 to March 29.

PAL and Air Asia also suspended flights to and from China, Hong Kong, and Macau following the temporary travel ban ordered by President Rodrigo Duterte amid threats of nCoV infection.

The affected flights of PAL are between Manila and Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xiamen, Quanzhou (Jinjiang), Hong Kong, and Macau.

Meanwhile, AirAsia also suspended its flights to or from Manila, Kalibo, and Cebu to or from Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Macau.

At the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, Iloilo, Cebu Pacific Air is the only airline that offers international flights going to and from Hong Kong and Singapore.

While Hong Kong flights remain suspended in the airport, Cebu Pacific still operates flights to and from Singapore.

As of February 6, Singapore already has 28 confirmed cases of 2019-nCoV.

Meanwhile, Treñas also appealed to the three airlines to suspend flights in Kalibo International Airport to and from countries with nCoV cases.

“They are still receiving passengers from countries with confirmed cases. Kon magilinutok man sila sa Kalibo and magmasakit, wala naman sila kadtuan nga iban kundi diri gihapon sa aton. We are also concerned kay ginaproteksyanan naton aton pumuluyo tapos sila sige pa gihapon ila pasulod,” he said.


Following the travel ban ordered by the President, all 23 flights from China have already been suspended at the Kalibo International Airport.

Flights remaining at the airport include 11 domestic flights and around 10-12 international flights to and from Korea which also recorded 23 confirmed cases of 2019-nCov as of Thursday.



While Western Visayas remain free from the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) acute respiratory disease, the Iloilo City government is bracing to prevent the disease from reaching the city.

Treñas said they are already preparing the needed documents for the purchase of 78 non-contact thermometers as parts of its precautionary measure against n-Cov.

According to the mayor, the non-contact thermometers will be used to monitor people entering the district health centers and the City Hall.

Mabakal na kita and inog-deliver na lang ang 78 nga non-contact thermometers. It will be situated in our district health centers and here in the City Hall,” he said on Friday.

Treñas said the city has also designated specific ambulances that will only cater to patients with possible novel coronavirus infection.

The mayor is also preparing a memorandum requiring all establishments and department stores in the city to provide sanitizers and disinfecting liquids to customers.

May ara man kita pagwaon nga memo para sa mga establishments and department stores nga dapat may sanitizers sila and habon sa ila comfort rooms. Diri sa City Hall, we have already put hand sanitizers and alcohols in all the seven floors of the building,” he said.

The City Hall also created a task force that will monitor hotels and restaurants.

In Aklan, Malay Acting Mayor Frolibar Bautista issued an order Friday preventing the entry of all persons with travel history from China, Macau, and Hong Kong for the past 14 days to the entire town which includes Boracay.

Executive Order No. 04 series of 2020 is part of the efforts of the local government to prevent the entry of the novel coronavirus in the tourism destination.

Border patrols composed of representatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army, Department of Tourism (DOT), and Municipal Health Office of Malay will be deployed to the boundaries of the locality to check all the passengers’ travel history especially the tourists.

As of Friday, Western Visayas has 22 patients under investigation (PUI) or persons who showed signs and symptoms, had a travel history to China, Hong Kong, and Macau; and had possible exposure to a confirmed case.