Palace says Cebu must follow IATF protocols
File - In this June 2020 photo,personnel of Police Regional Office-7 patrol Barangay Mambalingin Cebu City.
Aldo Nelbert Banaynal

Palace says Cebu must follow IATF protocols

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - June 14, 2021 - 5:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday ordered the province of Cebu to follow the protocols for arriving passengers set by the national government.

The national government's protocols require returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers to undergo quarantine for at least ten days and swab tests on the seventh day from arrival.

Under an executive order issued by Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, arriving passengers will be swabbed upon arrival at the Mactan Cebu International Airport and will wait for their results in a hotel for up to three days. The province has amended its protocol to include the conduct of swab tests on the seventh day of the arrival.  

"This news just came in from the Office of the Executive Secretary: The president has decided that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) protocols must be implemented by the Cebu province," presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing.

"The last extension was just a preparation for full implementation of that decision," he added, referring to the national government's decision to extend the diversion of all international flights bound for Cebu to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport until June 12.

The flight diversion, which was recommended by the IATF, was initially imposed from May 29 to June 5 as a precautionary measure against the further spread of COVID-19.

“The president has also considered the DOH (Department of Health) critique and has decided that Cebu province must abide by IATF arrival protocols,” Roque said.

Asked what the national government would do if Cebu insists on implementing its own protocols, Roque replied: "I am not aware of what the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) will do. Perhaps that is a question better asked from the DILG."

Late last month, Duterte met with Garcia to talk about the protocols for returning Filipinos. The DOH was then directed to assess the measures implemented by the province.

Roque said he did not sense any outrage from the president during his meeting with the Cebu governor.

"There was in fact an understanding over the issue of humanity as far as the ten-day quarantine period for OFWS concerned and of course there’s the reality that Cebu Province has been on MGCQ (modified general community quarantine) for the past ten months," the Palace spokesman said, referring to the most lenient risk classification in the country.

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