Cebu gov to ask provincial board to revisit ordinance on airport testing rules | Inquirer News
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Cebu gov to ask provincial board to revisit ordinance on airport testing rules

/ 05:03 PM June 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Short of heeding President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive for Cebu to follow the rules set by the government’s pandemic task force, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia said she would request the provincial board to revisit an ordinance on the province’s airport testing protocols for returning Filipinos.

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During the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing Tuesday, Garcia said she cannot “unilaterally set aside” the implementation of the ordinance passed by Cebu’s provincial board since it is considered “the local law of the land.”

“Out of deep respect for the President, I shall be asking our provincial board members to revisit the ordinance…As we all know, a provincial ordinance, unless declared ultra vires in a proper court, is the local law of the land in accordance with Republic Act 7160 or the Local Government Code,” she said.

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“A revisit of the ordinance [is what] I shall be requesting because I cannot unilaterally set aside the implementation of an ordinance lest I be accused of dereliction of duty,” she added.

The Cebu provincial government earlier decided to test all Filipinos from abroad upon arrival at the airport.

This is contrary to the protocol set by officials of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases who said testing should be done seven days after arrival.

On Monday, Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the President had ordered that Cebu implement the protocols set by the IATF.

Garcia said that aside from the review of the ordinance, technical advisers and medical experts advising the IATF on policies will also be invited to Cebu “so that they could present their own data” to the provincial board.

“That is as much as I can do, request the provincial board to study the ordinance after the medical experts’ critique and opinions shall be lengthily presented and discussed here in the province of Cebu,” she added.

This, as the Cebu governor said that she has yet to receive the critique from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III on the protocols of the province, as requested by the President.

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“In the last meeting that we had with the President, the President had requested Sec. Duque to present a critique of the Cebu protocol, we have not been furnished a copy of that critique and so we are unaware particularly where we could go wrong,” Garcia said.

“We respect the opinion of the medical experts of Sec. Duque and they will be kindly invited including members of the IATF who may wish to accept our invitation before the provincial board so that they shall be guided accordingly,” she added.

In response, Duque thanked Garcia for her invitation and assured that he will send his critique of Cebu’s protocols to the governor on Tuesday or Wednesday morning at the latest.

“My apologies that you were not furnished the critique but with my reassurance, we will provide you such. Certainly we would love to get our experts to visit Cebu province and to present their own data on why they are of certainty that the protocol that is nationally adopted is their way to go,” he added.

JE

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TAGS: Cebu, COVID-19, Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, IATF, Nation, News
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