The Department of Tourism Regional Office 4B (DOT RO-4B) assisted 6,371 tourists stranded, mostly in Palawan province.
The DOT southwestern Tagalog regional office, whose areas of responsibility include Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan (MIMAROPA), immediately set up a command center in coordination with the region’s local government units (LGUs) and facilitated the transfer of the stranded foreigners of different nationalities through 87 recovery flights on various airlines and chartered private planes in coordination with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Immigration authorities.
The daily recovery flights were conducted from March 15-March 28 in partnership with Air Swift, Philippine Airlines, Air Asia, Cebu Pacific and private chartered planes AV Aviation, Don Air and Leading Edge Fokker.
Transit points included the airports of Puerto Princesa, El Nido, Busuanga and San Vicente where the DOT-R4B team set up on-site registration and assisted the tourists with departure procedures, such as checking of passport and visa validity, confirmation with concerned embassies, and clearance from the local health offices.
The DOT-R4B, led by Director Christopher Morales, also extended various forms of assistance to 32 domestic tourists.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of Palawan arranged the land transportation of 275 stranded tourists from San Vicente and El Nido going to the Puerto Princesa International Airport for recovery flights where free lunches were served.
At least 266 were assisted in their sea voyage while accommodations were arranged with establishments in Palawan for the extended stay of remaining tourists.