Briones: Wait and see

·2 min read

SO INTERNATIONAL flights are back at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA).

One flight from Singapore was confirmed to have arrived at 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 13, 2021.

That, after Malacañang diverted all Cebu-bound international flights to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila at the end of May for one week before extending it for another week.

The first time, it said that Cebu didn’t have enough quarantine hotels to accommodate arriving overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

Or something like that.

Of course, there was no initial mention of the Cebu Provincial Government’s swab-upon-arrival policy and the immediate release of passengers if they test negative, which ran counter to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ protocol, which is a 10-day quarantine for passengers and a swab test on the seventh day.

When Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia refused to budge, well, because the Province, under the law, doesn’t have to adopt the IATF guidelines and because her policy actually eases the financial burden on ROFs and OFWs, Malacañang extended the flight diversion.

This time, it said it wanted to give the MCIA time to follow protocols set by the IATF, which, if you really look at it, violates the Local Government Code.

Anyway, the “deadline” was at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, hence the resumption of international flights the next day.

I guess the question is, will Malacañang extend the diversion yet again?

You see, Department of Health 7 Director Dr. Jaime Bernadas, in a text message to SunStar Cebu on Sunday, said Cebu will have to follow the amended ordinance imposed by the Provincial Government, which still differs from the IATF’s arrival protocol except that the Province now requires a second swab test on the seventh day of the quarantine period “in compliance with IATF guidelines.”

In other words, the swab-upon-arrival policy of the Capitol stays.

Did the national government actually believe that Cebuanos and the rest of the country were stupid enough not to see the benefits of Garcia’s policy on passengers arriving from abroad?

Why else would many go online to express their support, not to mention the several senators who have publicly come out to back it?

Is the IATF so hell-bent on getting its way that it will dare defy the will of the people? This close to a national election?

If it thinks Cebu is not serious about the coronavirus pandemic, it should think again.

The governor recently issued Executive Order 22, which requires all travelers from Bohol, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental to submit a negative Covid-19 test result before they can enter the island amid the rise in Covid-19 cases in the three provinces.

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