Cebu enforces 'swab upon arrival' policy

Published June 14, 2021, 1:49 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – The “swab-upon-arrival” policy was enforced when the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) started receiving international flights on Sunday.

MCIA OIC General Manager Glenn Napuli said two flights arrived Sunday.

Scoot Air arrived from Singapore at 2 p.m. while Jin Air arrived from Incheon, South Korea at 10:30 p.m.

Department of Health-Central Visayas (DOH 7) spokesperson Dr. Mary Jean Loreche said that Cebu’s “swab-upon-arrival” policy was implemented on arriving passengers.

“I was there this afternoon (Sunday) to receive the arriving passengers and conduct orientation regarding EO (Executive Order) of (Cebu) Province and IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) Resolution 114,” Loreche told reporters.

“I was touched by the reaction of those from Cebu. They were elated and proud to be coming home to Cebu. Those from other places? They were sad and envious. There was one returning overseas Filipino who just went home to pick up her children. Another one was to visit an ailing family member. It tugs at our hearts and in any way we can help we do so,” Loreche added.

Under the EO of Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, the “swab-upon-arrival” policy, which was adopted by a provincial ordinance, allows returning overseas Filipinos to be swabbed upon their arrival at the airport. If tested negative, Cebu residents will be allowed go home and continue with their home quarantine. They will be swabbed again on the seventh day of their home isolation.

International flights bound for MCIA were diverted to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for at least two weeks after Cebu’s policy deviated from the IATF guidelines on arriving Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

The IATF guidelines require OFWs and ROFs to undergo a 10-day quarantine in a government- accredited wherein the test will swab test will be conducted on the seventh day.