ILOILO CITY -- To protect the province from the spread of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), Iloilo’s provincial and local governments have separately called for the temporary suspension of international flights to and from the province through the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan town.
On Thursday, Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. requested Leah Vallido, operations manager of Cebu Pacific Air, for the “voluntary cessation of international flights to and from countries positive for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) immediately.” Only Cebu Pacific has international flights to the airport.
“If I am to be followed, I will lock down (Iloilo province) for at least we can lessen (the risks). It is better that we will not accept direct flights from Hong Kong and other countries that tested positive for the virus,” Defensor said.
The local chief executives of the 42 towns and one component city of the province, meanwhile, backed the governor’s request to the airline.
The League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) - Iloilo Chapter passed on Friday a resolution requesting Cebu Pacific to temporarily suspend all its international flights to and from Iloilo to prevent the entry of the virus.
The resolution, which was prepared by Geoffre Alonsabe, LMP-Iloilo secretary, and approved by Rosario Meadtrix Fernandez, LMP-Iloilo president, cited that a confirmed case was already recorded in the Philippines from Wuhan, China.
The Department of Health (DOH) has also reported 29 persons under investigation for 2019-nCoV, three of whom are from Western Visayas.
“The League of Municipalities of the Philippines - Iloilo Chapter requests the Cebu Pacific to temporarily suspend all its international flights from and to Iloilo to prevent the spread of the 2019-nCoV in the province of Iloilo,” the resolution said.
Defensor has welcomed the resolution of the LMP, saying it can support the request sent by the provincial government to the airline.
The Iloilo International Airport has an average of 31 flights a day and caters to 3,400 to 4,000 inbound and outbound passengers. It services flights from Hong Kong to Iloilo on Mondays and Fridays while flights from Singapore are on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. (PNA)