Swab center put up at T2 for OFWs

THE Philippine Airlines has rolled out a One-Stop-Shop (OSS) center at Terminal 2 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) which will perform the mandatory RT- PCR swab testing for  returning overseas Filipinos and authorized foreign nationals beginning August 1.

PAL spokesperson Ma.Cielo Villaluna said the OSS will significantly augment the Manila airport’s capacity to screen travelers and process quarantine requirements for passengers who fly into the Philippines’ biggest gateway on PAL flights from North America, the Middle East, Europe, Oceania and all over Asia.

According to her, the OSS is  accredited by the National Task Force (NTF), the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the Department of Health (DOH). It is capable of testing 1,200 passengers in a day and producing test results within 48 hours.

Villaluna said the new PAL facility will operate in tandem with the existing government-run IATF One-Stop-Shop facility that will now exclusively serve arriving Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who will be tested for free. Returning overseas Filipinos, on the other hand, will have to shoulder the cost of their PCR tests.

"The flag carrier set up this new One-Stop-Shop, dedicated to non-OFW travelers, to complement the government's current One-Stop-Shop for OFWs. This is industry and government working in unison with a common goal: to ensure ease and convenience of passengers as they go through testing protocols on arrival," she said.

Villaluna said PAL's medical service partner ,Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory will conduct the mandatory RT -PCR COVID19 tests for non-OFWs, while the Philippine Coast Guard will administer the tests for all arriving OFWs.  The Department of Tourism and the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) are on hand to assist arriving non-OFWs with their hotel bookings and related needs such as bus transfers.

“We are one with the nation in fighting COVID-19 through effective screening protocols at our borders.  This will help us accomplish the national goal of bringing home more stranded Filipinos from different parts of the world, with more convenience and greater safety," she added.

Non-OFWs, namely Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and authorized foreign nationals,  are required to register via the PALlink-- https://bit.ly/3ffoAIK -- and submit an accomplished electronic Case Investigation Form (e-CIF) at least three days prior to boarding their flight to the Philippines. They also need to secure an advance booking at any government-accredited hotel in Manila for at least two  nights, in line with the time expected to process and release their COVID test results. Travelers will need to pay the costs of the swab test and hotel accommodation.  

OFWs meanwhile, need to register through the Red Cross Portal --  https://e-cif.redcross.org.ph/ and submit an accomplished electronic Case Investigation Form (e-CIF) at least three days prior to boarding their flight home to the Philippines. (Family members traveling together with at least one OFW will likewise be considered OFWs.) Land-based OFWs must also create or update their accounts on the OFW Assistance Information System (OASIS) at http://oasis.owwa.gov.ph/ The Philippine Government and/or manpower agencies will shoulder the costs of testing and quarantine accommodations for OFWs.

The OSS facility will help PAL avoid the costly and burdensome re-routing of some international flights to land in Cebu or Clark instead of Manila.  

The PAL facility at Terminal 2 has been operating on a trial basis since June 27 and has successfully processed passengers arriving from San Francisco and other selected international flights.