Only fully-vaccinated passengers will be allowed to fly domestically starting Jan. 17, the Philippines' airlines said Sunday, in compliance with the government's "no vaccination, no ride" policy to help cap the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, and AirAsia said they would ferry only fully vaccinated domestic travelers to and from Metro Manila. The "no vaccination, no ride" policy is in effect under Alert Level 3 or higher in the capital region, covering travel by land, rail, sea, and air.
Some passengers may be allowed to travel even though they are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as long as they are:
- Persons with essential purpose of travel to and from Metro Manila, such as those with medical conditions that prevent full COVID-19 vaccination, provided that they present a duly signed medical certificate with the name and contact details of the physician;
- Persons who will provide essential goods and services as evidenced by a duly issued barangay health pass or or other proof that will justify travel.
Children 11 years old and below can still be accepted in PAL flights even without a medical certificate, but should still present a proof of essential travel.
Passengers of PAL and Cebu Pacific who will be affected by the policy can opt to rebook their flights or store the amount of their ticket as travel fund or credit. Philippine Airlines said it would also allow affected passengers to refund the cost of the ticket.
The Department of Transportation defended the "no vaccination, no ride" policy, saying that it was meant to protect the public and avoid a shutdown of public transportation during the latest COVID-19 surge.
"We believe that it is more anti-poor and anti-life if we will not impose interventions that will prevent loss of life due to non-vaccinations," it said.
The Philippines on Saturday reported 39,004 new COVID cases, setting an all-time high in daily infections for the third day straight.