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PAL, AirAsia support DOTr's "No Vaccination, No Ride" policy

January 14, 2022 - Friday 5:01 PM by Kristine Casampol

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The Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines support Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade's directive to impose a "no vaccination, no ride/entry" policy as the country continues to implement measures to control the increase in COVID-19 infections.

Flag carrier PAL said it strongly supports the DOTr's initiative "to promote safe travel during the ongoing Omicron surge" in a statement released on Jan. 13, 2022.

"PAL welcomes the No Vaccination, No Ride policy promulgated in the DOTr's Department Order No. 2022-001 for travel to and from the National Capital Region (NCR) and announced by DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade," the statement read.

In a statement, PAL President and COO Gilbert F. Santa Maria praised the DOTR's policy. They pledged that the airline will continue to adhere to safety and health protocols in its operations.

"We laud the DOTr's initiative to help the Filipino public embark on essential travels during the current crisis," Santa Maria said.

"We assure the public that PAL will do our part to uphold the strictest safety standards and health protocols in the continuing operation of our domestic and international flight network," he added.

PAL Express President Bonifacio U. Sam, on the other hand, stated that they support the DOTr and the country's air transport sector in preserving essential air services, promoting the delivery of necessary and urgent goods, such as COVID-19 vaccines, and assisting Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and those going to their provinces.

"We are one with the DOTr and the Philippine air transport sector in working to sustain vital air services throughout the country, facilitating the delivery of urgent goods including lifesaving vaccines, and helping our OFWs and overseas Filipinos fly to their home provinces," Sam said.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines stated that it would follow and implement the Department Order (DO) of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which establishes new transportation guidelines for fully-vaccinated and non-vaccinated passengers.

"From the onset of the pandemic, AirAsia has always been working closely with the IATF, DOTr, and its attached agencies along with medical experts in the implementation of multi-layered approaches to safety in the aviation sector," AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said.

"AirAsia Philippines considers this initiative from the DOTr as an effective tool to encourage every Filipino to take the shot and get an added layer of protection against any emerging COVID-19 variant," Isla added.

According to AirAsia Philippines' statement, the airline will continue to service fully-vaccinated passengers starting Monday, Jan. 17, 2022, following existing travel protocols established by the respective local government units (LGUs) of the destination.

Meanwhile, AirAsia said it would continue to transport non-vaccinated tourists who cannot receive complete COVID-19 vaccination due to medical issues, as required by the DOTr's order. This is on the condition that they present their physician's contact information and officially signed medical certificates.

"Likewise, persons who will provide essential goods and services as evidenced by duly issued barangay health pass or other appropriate proof that will justify travel will also be accepted during the flight," the AirAsia Philippines statement further said.

Before the PAL and AirAsia Philippines' shows of support, solons, medical, and transportation groups also supported the DOTr's "no vaccination, no ride" policy. The order takes effect on Jan. 17 and will remain in effect as long as Metro Manila remains on Alert Level 3 or higher.

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