By Joseph Almer Pedrajas, Jeffrey Damicog, and Martin Sadongdong
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen welcomed the decision of the Philippine government to lift the travel ban on Taiwan, which was imposed over concerns on the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-2019).
In her Facebook page, the Taiwanese leader stated late Friday night (local time) that they “approved of the Filipino government’s decision,” while expressing her gratitude to supporters in the Philippines.
“I want to thank all of our friends in the Philippines who spoke up for Taiwan,” Tsai said.
The temporary ban on Taiwan was lifted by the Philippine Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases early Friday night after it was established that the latter has been implementing very strict and excellent protocols in handing travelers.
The Task Force underscored the need to review on a regular basis how the Philippines’ source countries heighten precautionary measures and implement stricter protocols to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“The Philippines is one of Taiwan’s closest neighbors, and we will continue working to foster closer bilateral relations,” Tsai said.
The Taiwanese leader also assured Filipinos working, studying, and traveling in Taiwan that they will continue their efforts to prevent the disease from entering its borders.
“There is no cause for worry as long as you comply with prevention guidelines,” Tsai said.
With the Philippines’ decision to lift the travel restriction, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific resume their respective flights to Taiwan.
PAL announced Friday night that it is resuming flights to and from Taiwan.
“The decision clears the way for Philippine Airlines to resume service between Manila and Taipei after operational arrangements can be finalized and secured,” PAL said in a statement that is also posted on its Facebook page.
PAL said that it is resuming its flights to and from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan starting Feb. 21.
PAL said the schedule of the initial flights are as follows:
- Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays
(21 February to 29 February)
- Daily (from 01 March 2020)
PR890 to depart Manila at 6:05 AM and arrive in Taipei at 8:30 AM
PR891 to depart Taipei at 9:30 AM and arrive in Manila at 11:40 AM
“From 29 March 2020 onwards, our standard regular schedule of twice daily flights (PR890/891 and PR894/895) is still in effect,” PAL said.
“Passengers originally confirmed on cancelled MNL-TPE and TPE-MNL flights now have the opportunity to book on the restored PR890 and PR891 flight,” it added.
PAL said those who purchased tickets on its website may contact the PAL contact center, while those who purchased tickets through its ticket offices may visit again.
On the other hand, PAL advised those who purchased tickets through travel agencies to contact their respective travel agents for rebooking.
READ MORE: PAL to resume Taiwan flights
Cebu Pacific will likewise resume its flights to and from Taiwan after the travel ban was lifted.
“In line with the resolution from the Philippine government lifting travel restrictions between Taiwan and the Philippines, Cebu Pacific will resume flights between Manila and Taipei,” said Cebu Pacific Corporate Communications Director Charo Logarta-Lagamon.
The schedule of flights is as follows:
- Monday, February 17 – until further notice
5J 310 Manila-Taipei (Departs 10:40 p.m.)
- Tuesday, February 18 – until further notice
5J 311 Taipei-Manila (Departs 1:45 a.m. Monday/Wed/Sat; 2:15 a.m. Tuesday/Thursday/Friday/Sunday)
- Friday, February 21 – until further notice
5J 312 (Departs 7:05 a.m.)
5J 310 (Departs 10:40 p.m.)
5J 311 (Departs 1:45 a.m.)
5J 313 (Departs 10:45 a.m.)
According to Cebu Pacific, passengers booked on the said flights who have not availed themselves of a refund or travel fund will depart as scheduled.
“They are being notified through the contact details provided upon booking. They may also check the status of their flights through the Manage Booking portal in the Cebu Pacific website: https://book.cebupacificair.com/Manage/Retrieve/ ,” it added.
For concerns on rebooked flights between Taipei and Manila, the Cebu Pacific may be reached through its official accounts on Facebook or Twitter, or through its website for assistance.
Guests in the Philippines may also visit the Cebu Pacific ticket offices located at:
Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Ave, Quezon City
Robinsons Place, Ermita, Manila
NAIA Terminal 3 (Departure Level)
NAIA Terminal 4
Mactan Cebu International Airport
Robinsons Galleria Cebu