DILG eyes dialogue with Cebu gov’t on COVID-19 travel protocols
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is eyeing a dialogue with the Cebu provincial government so that the province’s COVID-19 travel protocols will be aligned with the national government’s.
DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya made the statement on Thursday after Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order No. 3-2022, allowing unvaccinated and partially vaccinated foreign tourists to enter the country through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) while complying with several requirements.
However, the policy of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) states that starting February 16, foreign nationals entering the country must show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
“This is not the first time that a similar predicament happened. It already happened in the past but we were able to resolve that amicably with the province of Cebu,” Malaya said in an online forum organized by the Department of Health.
“So I think the course of action moving forward is to do again another dialogue with the province of Cebu so that they can conform with the policies of the national government,” he added.
According to Malaya, local governments are “technically” not allowed to tweak national policies on COVID-19, unless the policies allow them to go beyond what is required.
He stressed that the IATF policy “should be followed” by the Cebu government.
“The local governments may tweak if the policy is unclear or if the national policy allows them to go beyond what is provided but in this case, the policy is very clear as to the entry of individuals to the country,” said Malaya.
“I think moving forward, what we have to do is to dialogue with the province of Cebu,” he said.
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