06202022 4

BONGAO, Tawi-Tawi – Philippine Airlines Airbus A320 safely landed in Sang-Sanga airport at 9:40am on June 9, 2022 commencing the first ever air travel within Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). On board Pal Flight PR-2487 were 180 passengers composed of local residents and tourists.

Retired nurse Fe Bertunen and husband Edgar traveled all the way from Bohol to take the first flight from cotabato to tawi-tawi. After working in Canada, she spent their retirement travelling around the Philippines, and has been longing to see the beauty of Tawi-tawi.

“Matagal ko na gusto bisitahin ang Tawi-Tawi. Kaya nung narinig naming na meron nang flight, bumyahe talaga kami. Marami ako naririnig about awi-tawi, peaceful naman daw. Kaya hindi kami natatakot. Magaganda ang mga islands daw doon,” Fe said.

PAL Express Officer In-Charge Rabbi Vincent Ang said this new route is made possible by the people of BARMM.

This is really a testament of what the people of this region is capable of. This is not a flight that was made possible by Philippine Airlines. The people of this region made this flight possible. The leaders of this region made this flight possible,” Ang added.

Bangsamoro Chief Minister Ahod “Al Haj Murad” Ebrahim said this historic event will open the doors to opportunities in the southernmost province of the country.

“This signals everyone’s commitment to bring the Bangsamoro community closer and open up new opportunities for trade and business. This inaugural flight is our simple step to make Mindanao a better place for all of us., Muslims, Christians, and Lumads. Inshallah.’ Ebrahim said during the send off ceremony in cotabato.

MinDA Chair Secretary Maria Belen Acosta lauded the Ministry of Transportation and Communication (BARMM) as this will supplement all efforts of bringing peace and development in the area, including the strengthened barter and trade withing BIMP-EAGA.

Acosta said, “This will spur economic activity, kasi kahit wala pa yung direct flight, sobra-sobra na yung demand for economic activity, transferring goods and people. Ano pa kaya ngayong meron na tayong direct flight.”

Philippine Airlines flies from Cotabato to Tawi-tawi and vice versa twice a week and will reduce travel time within BARMM, avoiding the circuitous trip to Manila via Zamboanga.

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