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Returning seafarers may avail of free COVID-19 testing, says DOTr

Returning seafarers may avail of free COVID-19 testing starting this December, which will be financed through the P270 million funds allocated for the maritime sector, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Saturday.

“Only inbound or returning Filipino seafarers who have disembarked through Philippine ports and airports are entitled to avail of the free COVID-19 testing, as covered by the Bayanihan 2 fund. This will be conducted by a service provider to be sourced by the PPA [Philippine Ports Authority],” the DOTr said.

The financial aid was included in the provisions of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, which is intended for those badly hit by the coronavirus disease pandemic.

On top of this, the DOTr said it would waive the collection of port fees for shipping companies.

The DOTr will use P250 million to subsidize fees to be collected from domestic shipping owners, specifically, for dockage and lay-up fees.

Shipping companies may get financial aid if they have a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC), Provisional Authority (PA), or Special Permit (SP), the DOTr said.

“Additionally, shipping companies/operators must be a holder of a valid accreditation certificate issued by PPA [Philippine Ports Authority]. Shipping companies/operators who have pending applications for accreditation are also eligible, unless otherwise said application has been denied by PPA,” the DOTr added. “The financial assistance shall also be on a ‘first come, first served’ and per vessel, per transaction bases”
Source: The Inquirer

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