Gwen Garcia to Locsin: All we ask for is coordination
CEBU CITY – “No need to beg.”
This was the reaction of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr.’s plea to allow foreigners to fly out of the Philippines through the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
“He does not have to beg, si Secretary Locsin gud na (That’s secretary Locsin). All that we ask is that please coordinate because we never stopped the airport operations,” said Garcia in a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
The governor recently got irked over the arrival of foreigners in Cebu who wanted to fly home
via the MCIA since it was not coordinated with the local governments here.
In a Twitter post, Locsin said there are still tourists stranded in Palawan, Siargao, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bohol, Caticlan, Surigao, Tacloban, Mindanao, and Bacolod. He said that they will be brought either to Cebu and Manila.
“Cebu makes it hard for evacuees to enter its airport. On my knees, I beg Cebu, please,” Locsin said.
The ideal thing to do, according to Garcia, was for these foreigners to take the flight from the nearest airport where they come from.
If that is not possible, she said tourists should not be allowed to go out of the MCIA compound and stay at local hotels on Mactan Island.
Garcia has received reports that some of these foreigners were allowed to go out of the MCIA and book hotels and resorts in Cebu without any coordination with local government units who already declared a “lockdown” due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said there are five private planes that have arrived in Cebu with 38 foreign tourists who came from Manila, Siquijor, Caticlan, Butuan, and Siargao.
There are also a “bus load” of Russians that were reported to have booked a hotel in Cordova town while awaiting for their flight home.
Garcia questioned MCIA general manager Steve Dicdican for allowing these tourists to book two hotels in Mactan Island.
She said if the tourists would not have left the airport and there was proper coordination, there would not have been any problem.
“I am not interfering with the operations of the airport,” Garcia said in a message to Dicdican.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.