DOTr Maritime sector in full force in assisting COVID-19 positive Filipino crew members aboard vessel from India

7 May 2021

MANILA – The maritime sector of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), consisting of the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Ports Authority (PPA), and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), together with the agency members of the One-Stop Shop (OSS) Port of Manila, are currently in full force in assisting all Filipino crew members aboard a COVID-19 positive vessel “MV Athens Bridge” from India.

According to the vessel’s shipping agent, MV Athens Bridge departed from India on 22 April 2021 and arrived in Haiphong, Vietnam on 01 May 2021 for the conduct of the crew’s RT-PCR test. It was later on found that out of the 21 Filipino crew members onboard, 12 of them tested positive of COVID-19.

On 06 May 2021, the PCG received a request from the vessel’s captain to execute a medical evacuation of the two (2) crew members who both needed urgent medical care. The vessel, at that time, was located 12 nautical miles west of Corregidor Island.

Upon securing clearance from the BOQ and the Department of Health (DOH), MV Athens Bridge was directed to the quarantine anchorage area designated by the OSS Port of Manila. Security is also provided by the PCG to ensure that no unauthorized vessel or banca will approach the vessel.

Early evening of the same day, BOQ doctors boarded the vessel to assess the condition of the crew and recommended the immediate medical evacuation of two (2) crew members in critical condition.

As of press time, the crew members in critical condition have been safely evacuated and brought to the dedicated medical facility for treatment. The rest of the crew are contained in the vessel and shall be provided with needed medical supplies, including oxygen tanks, with assistance from BOQ and PCG.

The national government, through the maritime sector of the DOTr, assures that the situation and the condition of the crew members will be consistently monitored. Health and safety protocols will also be prioritized throughout the entire process.

5 May 2021


CEBU – Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade led the inauguration and inspection today, 5 May 2021, of completed and ongoing airport development projects in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) in Lapu-Lapu City, in fulfillment of the government’s promise of improved air connectivity, job opportunities and tourism growth for the Visayas region.

The DOTr development projects included the MCIA Terminal 2 facilities, the soon-to-be inaugurated Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) Corporate Building, the new MCIA taxiway, and the new CAAP building. These airport projects were relentlessly pursued by the DOTr, under the leadership of Secretary Tugade, with the able support, assistance, and cooperation of the and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), under Director General Jim Sydiongco, and the MCIAA amid the pandemic.

Before the inauguration of the development projects in Cebu, the Transportation Chief also inaugurated the development projects at the Calbayog Airport in Samar.

In his speech, Secretary Tugade said he is glad to return to Cebu for the inauguration of the new MCIA taxiway. The Transportation Chief added that he will never tire of doing projects that will contribute to the happiness, comfort, and convenience of Cebuanos.

“Hindi ako napapagod at hindi ako mapapagod kung ang aking gawain ay mga programang nakakatulong sa sambayanan, programang nakakapagdulot ng ngiti sa sambayanan lalo’t higit sa mga taga Cebu. Mahalaga po sa amin ang Cebu. Mahal po ng Pangulong Duterte ang Cebu,” Tugade said.

*MCIA Terminal 2 and MCIAA Corp. Building Inspected*

Secretary Tugade, with Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino, first inspected the MCIA Terminal 2 Facilities then proceeded with the inspection of the MCIAA Corporate Building, which is targeted to be inaugurated on 31 July 2021.

MCIAA OIC Glen Napuli said Secretary Tugade’s visit to the MCIA Terminal 2 has boosted the morale of aviation and airport frontliners.

“Yung mga frontliners natin nandiyan for a year, nagtatrabaho, naka-PPEs, mainit yan. Namatayan na sila, nandyan pa rin. They are risking their lives. They are welcoming our OFWs with smiles. At least mapasalamatan nila si Secretary. Maraming salamat Sir, malaking bagay ‘yun sa amin,” Napuli expressed.

According to the MCIAA, airport international departures are currently integrated with the old terminal due to the pandemic. Terminal 2 is now aiding international arrival operations with swab booths and kits for RT-PCR testing and health protocol assistance.

Meanwhile, the construction of the MCIAA Corporate Building was aimed at housing more employees in a single building with better equipment and facilities. The building also promises improved services and accessibility to clients once operational before the end of 2021.

*New MCIA taxiway inaugurated*

After inspecting the MCIA Terminal 2 and the MCIAA Corp. Building, Secretary Tugade inaugurated the new MCIA taxiway, another development project under the massive ‘Build, Build, Build’ Program of the Duterte administration.

Secretary Dino, in turn, expressed his gratitude to Secretary Tugade and the entire DOTr for helping Cebu move forward amid the pandemic. He said the province badly needs the airport for it to open up and recover.

“My gratitude to our excellent and very able Secretary Tugade and his team for pushing for the early completion of this taxiway project. We appreciate you so much for loving and taking good care of Visayas. Sobrang sipag mo. I don’t know how come hindi ka napapagod. Secretary Tugade, more power to you, Sir, so we can have more projects here in the Visayas,” Dino said.

With the new and expanded taxiway, the previous maximum aircraft movement capacity was increased from 35 aircraft per hour to 40 aircraft per hour. Additionally, the previous maximum aircraft parking capacity, which was 40 aircraft slots has been increased to 50 aircraft slots.

Moreover, with an upgraded taxiway, more local jobs are expected to be generated as more employment opportunities will be opened by new locators and new concessionaires once larger aircraft are accommodated in the MCIA.

*New CAAP building inaugurated*

After inuagurating the new MCIA taxiway, Secretary Tugade also unveiled the new CAAP Administration Building located within the MCIA complex.

The new CAAP building is a 2-story infrastructure that houses various facilities of the agency. The completed building will enable CAAP personnel to extend efficient service to its stakeholders.

*Bantayan Airport rehab and other Cebu transport projects*

Aside from the inaugurated MCIA projects today, the DOTr has another aviation project ongoing in Cebu. The DOTr is also rehabilitating the Bantayan Airport. Repairs on the airport are now 94.67% complete and are eyed for completion by the second quarter of 2021.

Meanwhile, the DOTr and the Cebu Port Authority (CPA) have also completed seaport projects in Pilar, Malapascua, and Maya. Four other projects are now ongoing in Bantayan, Consolacion, Cebu Baseport, and in San Fernando.



05 May 2021


CALBAYOG CITY – More room for economic growth, trade expansion and vibrant tourism await Samar province as the Department of Transportation (DOTr), together with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) continues to improve air mobility in the region with the modernization and improvement of the Calbayog Airport.

DOTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade and CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco led the inauguration of the development projects in Calbayog Airport today, 05 May 2021. They were joined by other transport officials, local government leaders, and airline stakeholders to witness the momentous event.

Focus of the officials’ messages during the inauguration was the benefits of the completed development projects at the Calbayog Airport which is known as the “alternative gateway” to Eastern Visayas.

The development project involves the construction of a new Passenger Terminal Building (PTB). With the completion of the project, the Calbayog Airport terminal has been transformed into a modern and improved facility, which can now accommodate 450 passengers, increasing its previous 76-passenger capacity.

Aside from the new PTB, the completed development projects in Calbayog Airport also include the widened runway, expanded apron, construction of runway end safety area (RESA), a vehicular parking area (VPA), and security fence, and drainage system.

In his speech, DOTr Secretary Tugade stressed the need to develop transport infrastructure projects, such as airports, amid the pandemic, so that every region in the country will be equipped with the necessary instrument crucial for recovery and continuous growth.

“Dapat lang na balansehin natin ‘yung tinatawag na pangangailangan ng health protocols sa pangangailangan ng paglago ng ekonomiya,” Secretary Tugade stressed.

“Ginagawa natin ang paliparan na ito, upang pagdating ng tinatawag na ‘new normal’, andiyan na ang pasilidad upang sa ganoon, ang negosyo, ang pagbiyahe ng ating mga kababayan, at ang pag-unlad ng negosyo ay nakakasa na,” Tugade added.

Meanwhile, CAAP DG Sydiongco echoes the same message, saying: “With the continued commitment of DOTr, CAAP, and the LGU, progress in the Eastern Visayas Region’s transport sector will continue to take off.”

The improvements and development of the Calbayog Airport are expected to help further boost economic activities in the entire Region VIII and promote growth not only in Samar but also in its adjacent provinces.

“I’m sure that with the much-improved Calbayog Airport, it will offer nothing short but comfort and efficiency to the traveling public. And surely, this will bring in more tourists and boost the economy of Calbayog City and the rest of the Samar,” Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Secretary Michael Lloyd Dino expressed.

For his part, Samar 1st District Representative Edgar Sarmiento also commended and thanked Secretary Tugade, the entire DOTr, and CAAP for giving importance and attention to the needs of Samarnons.

“They did everything, from the very start of the construction until finally to its completion, to make sure that the Samarnons will be given this very beautiful airport,” Congressman Sarmiento said.

Apart from the development projects that have been carried out in the Calbayog Airport, the DOTr also has numerous infrastructure projects in Region VIII since the Duterte administration took over in 2016.

In the Aviation Sector, 23 airport projects have been completed, including development projects in the Biliran Airport, Borongan Airport, Catarman Airport, Maasin Airport, Ormoc Airport, and Tacloban Airport. Meanwhile, 14 more airport projects are ongoing.

In the Maritime Sector, 76 commercial and social tourism port projects were completed, including the San Isidro Municipal Port, San Jose Port, San Roque Municipal Port, Allen Municipal Wharf, Albuera Port, and Villaba Municipal Port. Meanwhile, 11 more port projects are ongoing to add to the 76 port projects already completed by the DOTr and Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) from 2016 to the present.