The order of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade to enforce a "no vaccination, no ride/entry" policy gets support from Philippine Airlines (PAL) and AirAsia Philippines as the country continues to implement measures to curb the uptick in COVID-19 infections.
In a statement released on 13 January 2022, flag carrier PAL said it strongly supports the initiative of the DOTr "to promote safe travel during the ongoing Omicron surge."
"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.
PAL President & COO Gilbert F. Santa Maria lauded the DOTR's policy and guaranteed that the airline would continue to uphold safety standards 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 our continuing operation of our domestic and international flight network," he added.
For his part, PAL Express President Bonifacio U. Sam stated that they support the DOTr and the country's air transport sector in preserving important air services, promoting the delivery of essential and urgent goods, including 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, in its statement, AirAsia Philippines expressed that it will follow and enforce the DOTr's Department Order (DO), setting new transportation guidelines for fully-vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals.
"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.
AirAsia Philippines' statement added that starting Monday, 17 January 2022, the airline will continue to serve fully-vaccinated passengers, compliant with the existing travel protocols by the respective local government units (LGUs) of destination.
Meanwhile, Air Asia says it will still fly non-vaccinated travelers with medical conditions that prevent them from getting full COVID-19 vaccination, as likewise stipulated in the DOTr's order. This is on the condition that they present duly signed medical certificates and their physician's contact information.
"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.
Prior to the manifestations of support from PAL and AirAsia Philippines, solons, medical and transport groups also gave their support to the DOTr's "no vaccination, no ride" policy. The order's full implementation starts on 17 January and will remain in effect while Metro Manila is under Alert Level 3 or higher.
DOTr Press Release
14 January 2022