Duterte leaves fate of Cebu governor to DILG

Published June 22, 2021, 12:32 AM

by Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte is not pleased with Cebu’s defiance of the national government’s health protocols on international arrivals.

President Rodrigo Duterte reads a document while presiding over a meeting with the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) core members at the Arcadia Active Lifestyle Center in Matina, Davao City on June 21, 2021. (Malacañang)

The President has asked the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to deal with Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia, adding there was a way to compel “obedience” after the province insisted on implementing its own arrival protocols.

Cebu has enforced its own swab test-upon-arrival policy for returning Filipinos, which was different from the national government’s rules.

“Si Gwen she went to see the other week, and I assured her that we are fair and we would like to, I see the wisdom in her view but I said the overwhelming notion among us in government and the medical doctors simply do not agree with her,” Duterte said during a public address Monday, June 21.

“So I leave the fate of Governor Garcia sa DILG. There are mechanics that can be put into action to compel obedience not because we want to be mas marunong (wiser) but remember I said all our decisions are based on what medical people say,” he said.

He said if Cebu refuses to follow the government’s protocols, the DILG will call the attention of Garcia on the matter. He said the governor could then give an explanation to the DILG.

The President said he understood the concern of the returning Filipinos about quarantine expenses but he could not make an exception on Cebu when it comes to national government’s COVID protocols.

He explained the country was in an emergency situation that requires the national government to implement certain safety and health regulations to protect the people from the coronavirus.

President Duterte recently ordered Cebu to follow the national government’s testing and quarantine protocols against coronavirus for arriving international passengers following the resumption of the international flights back to Mactan-Cebu International Airport last June 13.

The Palace earlier ordered the diversion of all Cebu-bound flights to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) due to the shortage of quarantine facilities in Cebu.

Cebu has required returning international passengers to take the coronavirus test upon arrival at the airport and permitted those who test negative to proceed to their destination.

The government’s pandemic task force, on the other hand, has mandated incoming passengers undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The first 10 days shall be observed in an accredited quarantine facility, with the remainder will be completed under home quarantine. They will undergo the polymerase chain reaction test on the seventh day of their quarantine.