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The Puerto Princesa Underground River (PPUR) tour will be closed for tourists and visitors starting March 15, Sunday, said the park superintendent.
Elizabeth Maclang, protected area superintendent of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) told Palawan Daily News (PDN) Saturday this is because of the suspension of flights both in and out of Manila and other flights in and out of the city.
“Bale ang nangyari, ‘yong mga iba nating destinations na CBST hindi naman close. Nag-meeting kami kanina ng mga CBST, mga resorts, representatives ng mga accommodations, restaurants, mga tindahan para kung ano ba ang plano kasi ito na nga magsasara na nga bukas. Ang concern nila [is] hindi naman sila magsasara. Sabi ko nga, ‘ang sarado lang po natin ay ang kuweba, iyong PPUR’ pero the rest ng CBST sabi ko ‘pakinggan natin sila kung ano ba nag napag-usapan na plano nila’ so hindi naman sila magsa-sara meron silang skeletal force,” said Maclang.
Maclang reiterated only the PPUR tour or the “tour inside the cave” will be closed, but the other attractions, sites, and activities within the park will remain open.
She said the jungle trail will also remain open to the public and visitors.
Maclang stated the initial schedule of flights suspension will only be until April 14, thus they also consider resuming the PPUR tour by April 15.
“Kaya nga sabi ko hindi ko rin ma-categorically masasabi kung hanggang [April] 14 lang ‘yan kasi halimbawa maaga-aga nag-resume na ang mga flights, resume na rin kami, kapag [naman] ma-extend, extend pa rin kami ganun,” she said.
On March 13, the City Mayor’s Office (CMO) has ordered the suspension of all domestic air travel to and from Puerto Princesa starting March 15 to April 14 in a bid to arrest the spread of Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
Maclang said PPSRNP management will use the time to conduct restoration and protection activities at the park.
She also added that during the period when PPUR tour is still closed to the public, they at the park management will carry out maintenance of facilities, park occupants’ surveys, and information education campaigns on the impending implementation of the city ordinance that will ban single-use plastics in the city.
On the other hand, she added the thermal monitoring of people entering the park at Kwago Based Checkpoint will continuously be conducted 24/7.