Gov. Garcia appeals to DOT to stop letting foreigners in amid Covid threat
CEBU CITY, Philippines — With the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine in Cebu province due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has asked the Department of Tourism in Central Visayas (DOT-7) to stop facilitating the entry of foreign nationals who are due for repatriation.
Garcia, in a press conference on Monday evening, March 30, 2020, said two more foreign nationals made it into the province through the port in Samboan town, southern Cebu, on Sunday, March 29, 2020.
Garcia said the two foreign nationals entered the province via a roll on/roll off (RORO) vessel that was used to transport cargoes from Negros Island to Cebu.
The governor said the DOT-7 did not coordinate with the province regarding the entry of foreign nationals.
“Nisumbong na lang si Col. [Roderick] Mariano that they were instructed to escort aning duha ka foreigners nga nangabot. Ilang gi-escorton kay ang protocols were to escort. Apparently, they were facilitated by the DOT,” Garcia said.
(Col. Mariano told me that they were instructed to escort these two foreigners who arrived. They escorted them because the protocols were to escort them. Apparently, they were facilitated by the DOT.)
From Samboan, the foreigners were escorted to a hotel here in Cebu City as they were supposed to fly back to their country via a repatriation flight.
To recall, Garcia ordered, last March 15, 2020, to prohibit the entry of all persons from Negros Island after Negros Oriental reported its first COVID-19 death.
“Please hangyo nako, Department of Tourism Regional Director Shalimar Tamano, undang na tawon. Mahimo ba? Di na man gani nato pagawason ang mga taga Cebu City para mo-adto didto sa probinsya, nagsige man hinuon tag pasulod og mga puti,” Garcia said.
(Please I appeal to Department of Tourism Regional Director Shalaimar Tamano to stop. Is it possible? We don’t even let those from Cebu City go out to return to their hometowns and here we are allowing foreigners to come in.)
“Ngano man nga special treatment man gyud ning atong mga foreigners nga mismo ang mga Filipino, mismo atong mga silingan nga probinsya sa Negros ug Bohol, di man gani ta manawat?” Garcia said.
(Why do we need to give special treatment to foreigners when we do not even allow the entry of our fellow Filipinos and neighbors from the provinces of Negros and Bohol?)
CDN Digital tried to contact Tamano for his comments on the issue but no answer was given as of press time.
Garcia said that the local government units’ efforts to implement mobility restrictions may become futile if the entry of other foreigners from other provinces will continue.
“Mao tingali nga di pa kaayo daghan ang mga positive cases kay grabe ang binantayay nila (LGUs). Pero ang sakit kung mismo ang akong kaaway government agency nga mao man hinuoy nagbulabog. Mao man hinuoy di mosunod,”Garcia said.
(This probably is the reason why we don’t have a lot of positive cases because of the efforts of the LGUs. But what’s painful is if a government agency is the one messing things up. They’re the ones not cooperating.) /bmjo
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