By Tara Yap
Iloilo City — Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. of Iloilo province has called on a low-budget airline to halt its flights to and from Hong Kong and Singapore, two areas with positive cases of the novel coronavirus (nCoV).
“If I had it my way, these flights should be stopped,” Defensor told Manila Bulletin.
Defensor has written a letter to Leah Vallido, operations manager of Cebu Pacific Air in Iloilo, requesting their voluntary cessation of international flights to places with positive nCov cases.
Cebu Pacific Air has direct flights from Iloilo to Hong Kong and Singapore and vice versa.
“Of course, we are worried. Personally, it would be beneficial if we don’t accept any direct flights as of the moment,” Defensor said. “I personally would also want to have a lockdown. But it is not in our power to do so. It is within the national government.”
With one nCov-positive case in the country, Defensor also called on the Bureau of Quarantine under the Department of Health (DOH) to coordinate with local governments in tracking down passengers that came to Iloilo, but had international flights that landed in Manila or Cebu.
“If it’s allowed, we want to have the health declaration cards of the passengers. This is vital in knowing their travel history,” Defensor said.
Meanwhile, calls are also mounting to stop flights to and from mainland China in other parts of the Western Visayas region. In particular, there is an ongoing petition at the world-famous Boracay Island in Malay town, Aklan province.
Antique Rep. Loren Legarda also wanted a temporary ban of Chinese tourists.