EDITORIAL - What now?

EDITORIAL - What now?

(The Freeman) - June 14, 2021 - 12:00am

As of this writing yesterday, there was no extension of the order diverting all international flights landing at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) to Manila.

And by the time this editorial comes out, two international flights should have already landed at the MCIA and the passengers subjected to the local quarantine policy being required by Cebu Province instead of the one being imposed by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF)

Malacañang earlier ordered all international flights to MCIA to be diverted to Manila after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia opted to follow her own quarantine guidelines for Overseas Filipino Workers and Returning Overseas Filipinos arriving at the MCIA, instead of the IATF guidelines.

While the IATF wants travelers to be quarantined for 10 days in a government facility, followed by home quarantine from the 10th to the 14th day, Cebu Province allows travelers to proceed to their town of destination and undergo home quarantine there if they test negative at the airport. This will be followed by another test after seven days.

What Governor Garcia is implementing is by far cheaper and less troublesome than what the IATF wants, even more so after flights were diverted from Cebu to Manila, forcing some passengers to spend for the local fare from Manila to Cebu.

Considering the latest development it seems the IATF has backed down, for now.

While we acknowledge that the IATF is mandated “to assess, monitor, contain, control and prevent the spread of any potential epidemic in the Philippines”, we would like to push the fact that local executives who have been at the helm for years are usually more knowledgeable about the situation on the ground in their respective local government units (LGUs), as compared to a national agency that was just created recently.

Let’s hope this is end of this mess.

This non-extension of the order to divert flights from Cebu to Manila --again as of this writing yesterday-- also opens another question as to whether or not other LGUs are also free to formulate their own quarantine policies, ones that are best suited to the situation they observe.

In short, if what Governor Garcia is doing instead of what the IATF wants does work, and it certainly appears to be doing so, will the IATF also allow local executives to formulate their own quarantine policies?

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