Garcia hopes for 'win-win' solution on airport protocol impasse

Published June 22, 2021, 1:00 PM

by Philippine News Agency

CEBU CITY – Governor Gwendolyn Garcia will be attending a meeting between the Provincial Board here and experts from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) led by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on June 28.

“I hope that the meeting will help us reach a common ground to find a win-win solution on the health protocols implemented in the Province of Cebu,” Garcia said in her letter dated June 18 to the health chief that was disclosed to reporters here on Monday.

Garcia’s confirmation came after Health Secretary Francisco Duque III sought the governor’s attendance to the said meeting and the submission of the DOH’s “Experts Analysis and Comments on Border Control Measures Implemented in Cebu Province” report to the Office of the President.

Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte had asked the DOH to critique Cebu’s swab and quarantine protocols for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

Last June 11, the Provincial Board here amended the ordinance governing the arrival of ROFs and OFWs to include a second swab test for the COVID-19 virus and revised quarantine rules.

The amendments, which reflect the requirements contained in a memorandum that Garcia issued on May 20 and released on June 5, still differ from IATF’s arrival protocols except for the swab test on the seventh day.

The IATF requires all arriving travelers, except those fully vaccinated in the Philippines, to undergo facility-based quarantine for 10 days and undergo an RT-PCR test for the virus on the seventh day.

Even with a negative result, a traveler is required to complete 10 days in a quarantine facility and spend an additional four days under home quarantine.

Travelers who had been fully vaccinated in the Philippines are required to stay in a quarantine facility only for seven days and undergo a swab test only if COVID-19 symptoms develop.

Cebu’s amended ordinance still requires arriving ROFs and OFWs to take a swab test upon arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. The test is free of charge and is conducted by the Department of Health (DOH).

The travelers are to wait for the test result in a pre-booked quarantine hotel. If positive, they are to abide by the treatment protocols set by the DOH.