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Garcia is hoping for a ‘win-win’ solution to the airport procedure

On June 28, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will attend a meeting of the Provincial Board and specialists from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), which is headed by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“I believe the meeting will help us establish a common ground to create a win-win solution on the health protocols adopted in the Province of Cebu,” Garcia said in a letter to the health head dated June 18 that was made public on Monday.

Garcia’s confirmation came after Duque requested the governor’s presence at the meeting and the submission to the President’s Office of the DOH’s “Experts Analysis and Comments on Border Control Measures Implemented in Cebu Province” report.

President Rodrigo Duterte had already ordered the Department of Health to examine Cebu’s swab and quarantine procedures for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning OFWs (ROFs).

โ€œWe will be attending the Cebu Provincial Board during their meeting at the Cebu Provincial Capitol to help them comprehend the aforementioned analysis when they review Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-04, as modified by Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-05,โ€ Garcia added.

The Provincial Board here modified the law regulating the entrance of ROFs and OFWs on June 11 to add a second Covid-19 virus swab test and updated quarantine procedures.

Except for the swab test on the seventh day, the changes, which follow the criteria in a memorandum Garcia issued on May 20 and published on June 5, vary from the IATF’s arrival procedures.

Except for individuals who have been completely vaccinated in the Philippines, the IATF mandates all incoming passengers to undertake a 10-day facility-based quarantine and an RT-PCR test for the virus on the seventh day.

Even if the test is negative, a tourist must spend 10 days in a quarantine center and another four days at home.

Travelers who were completely vaccinated in the Philippines are only needed to remain in a quarantine facility for seven days and are only obliged to have a swab test if symptoms of Covid-19 appear.

Arriving ROFs and OFWs are still required to undergo a swab test at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport under Cebu’s revised law. The test is provided free of charge by the Department of Health (DOH).

The tourists must wait for the test results at a quarantine hotel that has been pre-booked. If they test positive, they must follow the DOH’s treatment guidelines.

Before a similar event, two Cebuano attorneys filed a special civil action, a petition for declaratory relief, in the trial court here on Monday, challenging the IATF-jurisdiction EID’s to continue imposing its rules on Cebu or any other local government units beyond the six-month time allowed.

Lawyers Clarence Paul Oaminal and Valentino Bacalso Jr., as well as lawyer Benjamin Cabrido, filed the petition at Cebu City’s Regional Trial Court on behalf of the petitioners.

The attorneys questioned the legality of IATF Resolution No. 114, which establishes procedures for incoming foreign passengers, claiming that it is “inapplicable and ineffectual” in Cebu.

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