Duterte extends diversion of Cebu-bound flights to Manila until June 12, the digital media company Rappler reported yesterday. Actually, it was Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea who signed the order to again reroute to Manila all international flights bound for Cebu, but since the executive secretary is the alter ego of the President, it was just as if Duterte signed the memorandum himself.
That has to be made clear, at the risk of being accused of nitpicking, to make us understand how long the odds are of the province successfully asserting control over testing protocols for international arrivals at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. The Local Government Code does favor Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s position that her executive order, which was reinforced by an ordinance of the provincial board, should prevail over a mere rule of the IATF, but can she enforce it? How?
Last Sunday, she tried by simply ignoring the IATF rule that required international arrivals at the MCIA to have themselves tested for the coronavirus on the seventh day after arrival and to quarantine for 14 days. Follow her innovation instead, she told MCIA personnel. They did but not for long because Medialdea intervened by practically shutting down the international airport’s operations.
The rerouting was clearly a retaliatory measure no matter how hard they try to hide it by dating the Malacañang memorandum June 5. The IATF had seven days from the time of the original rerouting to ensure seamless implementation of the IATF travel and testing protocols at the MCIA once the international flights resumed. Why was this not done? What elaborate measures were needed to be done to ensure that the IATF would be able to perform their mandate “seamlessly”?
Why don’t they just admit that they were stung by Garcia’s defiance and that they decided to starve the MCIA of international arrivals for another week in order to show her who’s the boss?
Back to the question, what can Garcia do to assert the local government’s superior right to manage the response to the pandemic in the province? Her options are limited. She can go to court, but then she has to implead Duterte in whose behalf Medialdea issued the memorandum. I do not think she is willing to antagonize the President who is her ally. In fact, it would be best to get the President as far out of the controversy as possible.
At this point, she can only rely on the strong public support for her innovation. Fourteen days of isolation even in a hotel room are indeed an emotional and financial burden. In comparison, Garcia’s approach is more Filipino and Christian. She can bring their voice to the President the next time they meet. Maybe, he would listen this time.
In the meantime, let us have no more of those aggravations that we saw last Sunday because they are counterproductive. Look at where we’re now.
Where we’re now is the same question I will ask those who not only refuse to get vaccinated against the coronavirus but peddle lies about the supposed evil scheme to control us through the vaccines. Holy cow, have we not seen enough?
I still think that suicide is a choice, but please do not endanger others when you do decide to take that leap. Do not spread misinformation. Leave the others alone.