Bacolod City—The Negros Occidental provincial government is preparing for the arrival of more sweeper flights it has arranged with the Philippine Airlines (PAL) for stranded Negrenses in Metro Manila this week.
On Monday, Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson and Bacolod-Silay Airport Manager Percy Malonesio led the inspection of the installation of thermal scanners and swab-testing booths at the airport here.
Charina Magallanes-Tan, spokesperson of Provincial Incident Management Team for COVID-19, said the flights will arrive within the next three days, starting Tuesday.
Passengers on the special flights are paying for their own fare, she added.
The trips from Manila are expected to depart at 11 a.m. and arrive in Bacolod-Silay Airport around 12:30 p.m.
Locally stranded individuals (LSIs) in Negros Occidental and Bacolod City can also book for seats on a return flight, which will leave at 1 p.m.
Magallanes-Tan said those who have previously bought tickets from PAL for Bacolod-bound flights need to rebook to take either of the sweeper flights.
“PAL will just refund the payments made for commercial flights,” she added.
The provincial government warned that anyone misrepresenting his or her identity, residence, and other personal details to obtain a ticket will be blacklisted and subjected to criminal and administrative action.
Magallanes-Tan said the provincial government organized these sweeper flights to ensure that LSIs and returning Negrenses will be given priority in all flights until June 15.
After that, the Bacolod-Silay Airport will already be opened to commercial flights.
Also on Monday, eight overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), who are residents of Bacolod, and 13 others from Negros Occidental arrived aboard an AirAsia sweeper flight from Manila around 12:50 a.m.
Some 21 OFWs and a child, who are all from Negros Occidental, also landed in Bacolod-Silay Airport at 2:50 a.m. on Sunday. Also on the same flight were 12 Bacolodnons.
Later in the afternoon, a total of 102 LSIs, who are residents of Bacolod, arrived on a PAL special flight around 3 p.m.
On Saturday, a PAL sweeper flight landed at 2:15 a.m., bringing home 14 Negrense and three Bacolodnon OFWs.