Covid-19 positive passengers may slip into city as testing at DIA is suspended

With the current suspension of the Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing for arriving passengers at the Davao International Airport (DIA) that started on January 13, 2021, there could be Covid-19 positive passengers who may slip in unnoticed into Davao City.

As the testing was set aside for now, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio emphasized the importance of strict implementation of Executive Order No. 62 which classified Davao City as a restricted local government unit (LGU).

“Because wala tay screening sa musulod via air travel and air travel is the fastest route na makapa-transport og mga COVID-19 confirmed cases and because walay mandatory testing ang airplane passengers, there will always be someone na positive makasulod. So this is where important ang implementation sa E.O. 63,” said Mayor Sara in a live broadcast interview on Friday.

The mayor said the city is redirecting its resources to address the local transmission since this is the highest in the list of cases.

“Duna ta’y suspension sa atong testing upon arrival sa airport because we are redirecting our resources didto sa local transmission sa syudad sa Davao,” she said.

The mayor added that personnel of the city government of Davao remain deployed at the DIA to enforce E.O. 63.

While testing is suspended, arriving passengers with negative RT-PCR tests taken within 24 to 72 hours before their scheduled flights to the city are prioritized in exiting the DIA after checking their health declaration forms (HDFs).

Mayor Sara also said that there are flight passengers inside the DIA holding facility while waiting to be fetched by their LGUs.

She said that non-Davao City residents arriving through the DIA will have to go straight to their LGU  of destination.

The city established the free RT-PCR testing at DIA for arriving passengers who have no RT-PCR negative results to show upon their exit. A negative RT-PCR test result is a requirement for a passenger to exit DIA.

Non-Davao City flight passengers may still exit the airport even without the RT-PCR negative test as long as their LGUs will fetch them and they can present other needed documents. She, thus, urged neighboring local government units (LGUs) to pick up their locally stranded individuals (LSIs) at the DIA.

For Davao City residents without negative RT-PCR test results to show, their HDFs and other necessary documents will be checked.
By Maya M. Padillo