Palace: No ‘defiance’ in Cebu govt's protocols for returning Filipinos, flight rerouting temporary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 28) — Malacañang sees no ‘defiance’ on the end of Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia’s protocols for Filipinos arriving at her province amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wala naman po sigurong [There probably isn’t any] defiance,” said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday when asked whether the government’s recent decision to reroute all international flights bound for the province to Manila had something to do with Garcia supposedly going against the IATF’s protocols on returning nationals. 

Garcia earlier ordered the testing of all returning Filipinos upon arrival at Cebu's airport contrary to the pandemic response inter-agency task force’s rule that tests be performed six days after their arrival.

Ang nangyari po kasi sa Cebu, naubusan po kasi talaga sila ng hotel. At ngayon lang po naaprubahan ng (Department of Tourism) na magkaroon ng mixed use sa kanilang mga hotels,” explained Roque.

[Translation: What happened in Cebu is that they ran out of hotels. And the Department of Tourism was able to approve only now mixed use for their hotels.]

The spokesman added that the Mactan-Cebu International Airport even closed down earlier for two days given the lack of facilities for returning Filipinos and overseas workers.

“Habang inaayos lang po yan ay ir-reroute muna ang flights. So panandalian lang po yan at inaasahan nating maaayos na yung sistema at magkakaroon na tayo ng sapat na hotel rooms diyan sa Cebu,” said Roque.

[Translation: Flights will be rerouted for now while this is being addressed. This will be temporary and we expect the system to get fixed and have enough hotel rooms in Cebu.]

Flights headed to Mactan-Cebu International Airport will be diverted to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport from May 29 to June 5, officials said.