Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte. (File photo)

DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Duterte reminded Davao City residents to “rethink” traveling to places outside of Mindanao, especially after the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is now requiring Davao-bound passengers to present a negative RT-PCR (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) result before boarding their flights.

She added that the local government unit of Davao will not shoulder the costs for RT-PCR testing of regular commercial flight passengers.

“For regular commercial flight passengers, wala [government subsidy for RT-PCR testing]. That’s why, naga remind ta pirme sa tanan nga i-rethink nila ang ilahang travel plans,” Mayor Duterte said in a live Davao City Disaster Radio broadcast.

[For regular flight passengers, there is no government subsidy for RT-PCR resting. That’s why, we’re reminding everyone to rethink their travel plans].

Although air travel is now allowed under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), inbound passengers arriving at the Davao International Airport may find themselves spending as much as PHP10,000 for the RT-PCR testing.

“Gina discourage nato ang mga taga-Davao City nga mugawas og Davao but it is not a rule or mandate sa City Government of Davao,” the mayor clarified.

[We are discouraging Davao City residents from going outside of Davao, but it is not a rule or mandate of the city government of Davao].

“Kadtong March pa lang, sige na ta’g sulti nga dili mugawas og Davao City because number one, kung wala ka na-test or wala ka naga-manifest og symptoms, makatakod ka sa ubang lugar; and vice versa, kung naa ka sa ubang lugar unya ma-expose ka didto, madala nimo ang Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019),” Duterte explained.

[Ever since last March, we’ve been reminding everyone not to go outside of Davao because, number one, if you have not been tested or have not been manifesting symptoms, you might infect people in other places; and vice versa, if you’re travelling to another place and you become exposed there, you’ll be bringing Covid-19 here].

Duterte also said that the local government would not want to shut down the airport entirely because of increase of Covid-19 cases.

“Dili nato na gusto buhaton nga walay flight coming in and out of Davao International Airport (DIA), because mag-lisod ang mga tao sa ingon ana nga control measure,” she said.

[We don’t want resort to that, wherein there is no flight coming in and out of Davao International Airport because people will have a hard time with that control measure].

On July 16, the LGU announced that passengers arriving at the DIA should present a negative RT-PCR test result issued within 48 hours from the date of departure starting July 20.

“A rapid test kit result shall not be accepted. All arriving passengers without this negative test result shall be held at the airport and will not be allowed to come out until they arrange for their testing — at their own cost,” the LGU announced. “This will greatly help Mindanao in keeping the increasing cases at a manageable level.” (PCOO-Davao PR)