Palace orders int’l flights to Cebu diverted to Naia
MANILA, Philippines — From May 29 to June 5, all international flights bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport must be diverted to Ninoy Aquino International Airport, Malacañang said on Thursday.
The order came after Cebu imposed its own testing protocols on passengers arriving from abroad, mandating the testing of overseas Filipino workers and residents based abroad upon their arrival in the province. The passengers have to stay in a facility while waiting for the results, but could proceed to their final destination after testing negative for the virus.
The Cebu ordinance was contrary to protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Under IATF rules, passengers arriving from abroad would have to quarantine in a facility for 10 days and undergo a swab test on the seventh day. They have to complete the 10-day facility quarantine regardless of the swab test results, and then undergo another four days of quarantine at their final destination.
Abide by directive
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea also directed all government agencies to enforce the national government’s testing and quarantine protocols applicable to inbound international travelers in all ports of entry, regardless of protocols issued by local government units (LGUs).
The Palace official said department heads should ensure that all offices abide by the directive, while the Department of the Interior and Local Government would ensure the compliance of LGUs.
The Department of Transportation was also directed to ensure the smooth diversion of inbound flights.
In his memorandum dated May 27, Medialdea said the directives were upon the recommendation of the IATF and “in pursuit of the national interest in preventing the further spread of COVID-19 in the country.”
On May 12, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) issued an advisory limiting the number of international arrivals in the Mactan-Cebu International Airport due to lack of quarantine facilities.
The Mactan-Cebu International Airport also temporarily stopped accepting international flights on May 14 and May 15. Cebu Gov. Gwen Garcia has since urged the CAB to lift the limitation on arriving international passengers.
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