Cebu hotels, gov’t agencies warned vs defying ordinance on Filipinos returning from abroad
CEBU CITY—Government agencies and hotel managements may face criminal and administrative charges if they do not follow the Cebu provincial board ordinance on returning Filipinos from abroad.
Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on Monday said anyone who holds returning Filipinos in hotel rooms for more than three days is liable for kidnapping and serious illegal detention.
She encouraged those affected to file criminal charges while the Cebu provincial government would handle the administrative charges against those caught violating Ordinance 2021-04 as amended by Ordinance 2021-05.
Garcia issued Executive Order No. 23 “reminding the general public and concerned government agencies to implement Cebu provincial ordinance No. 2021-04 as amended.”
“I have issued this executive order warning everyone that those who shall violate the provincial ordinance, still enforced and in effect, may be subject to criminal charges,” she said.
Garcia emphasized that the ordinance is still an existing and valid law contrary to officials’ claims from the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The governor’s warning came after the insistence of the IATF to implement its quarantine and swabbing rules in the province.
Last Sunday, June 20, Garcia said the province’s swab-upon-arrival policy was not implemented when Interior Sec. Eduardo Año instructed agencies not to follow the provincial board ordinance.
IATF Resolution 114, as amended by Resolution No. 116, wanted arriving Filipinos from abroad, including overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), to undergo quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival.
The first 10 days are to be spent in hotels that were accredited as quarantine facilities. A COVID-19 swab test will be conducted on the seventh day from arrival.
On the other hand, an executive order issued by Garcia and an ordinance of the provincial board requires OFWs and residents returning from abroad to undergo a swab test upon arrival at the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) and to go on hotel quarantine for a period of only two to three days.
The provincial board later amended its ordinance and ordered those from abroad to undergo another test on the seventh day after their arrival and while they are on “facility or home” quarantine.
The conflicting policies resulted in the diversion of international flights from the MCIA to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from May 29 to June 12.
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