DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio issued Executive Order No. 26 on Thursday, May 6, 2021, allowing the resumption of all kinds of flights, such as scheduled international flights, unscheduled domestic commercial flights (chartered), and other general aviation flights to and from Davao City.
Duterte-Carpio, according to the EO, said there has been a proposal in a letter dated May 4 from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap)-Davao International Airport (DIA) highlighting the need to remove all restrictions on flight operations to allow for more economic activities in relation to civil aviation.
City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) Head Generose Tecson said the lifting of restrictions of all air travel will further encourage air companies to resume their international flight operation.
"We're trying to open up kaya nga kino-convince na namin 'yung mga (which is why we are convincing) international airlines to start operating na pero di pa rin magawa-gawa (but they cannot do so) because merong (there is still existing) restrictions," Tecson told SunStar Davao in a phone interview.
She said they are optimistic that international flights will resume this year, but it would still depend on airline companies.
Tecson also said the continuing downtrend of cases in the city has also been the consideration of the EO.
Tecson, who is also Airport Monitoring Team head, said they are trying to revive the economy by easing the restrictions on air travel, provided that health protocols are still in place.
Among this, she said, is the continuous implementation of the City Ordinance 0477-21, Series of 2021, or an ordinance providing for mandatory testing prior to entry into the city via DIA.
The ordinance will require all air passengers entering the city to present negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results taken not more than 72 hours before the flight. Saliva-based RT-PCR tests, still taken not more than 72 hours before the flight, will be accepted if done by the Philippine Red Cross.
In 2020, during the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, the city government issued EO No. 9 in March 2020 banning flights from Clark International Airport to deter passengers from Manila coming into the city via Clark.
This was followed by EO Nos. 12 and 22 series of 2020 suspending all international and domestic air travel to and from the city, respectively.
However, these were amended when the city issued EO No. 18, granting exemption of certain international and domestic air travel.
When the city shifted to general community quarantine, DIA reopened June 8, 2020 for domestic commercial flights but with strict health safety protocols.
Direct international flights to and from DIA were allowed in October 2020.