Cebu’s Swab-Upon-Arrival policy gains more support
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Cebu province’s Swab-Upon-Arrival policy is gaining more support.
The latest to express his support is Senator and Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III.
Sotto, in a press statement, expressed support for the implementation of Cebu’s Swab-Upon-Arrival policy for Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). He also hoped it will be applied nationwide.
“I support Cebu Governor (Gwendolyn) Garcia in their ordinance for Cebu Residents, OFWs, and ROFs to have a Swab-Upon-Arrival-Policy… I’m looking forward that this best practice will be implemented throughout the country,” Sotto said.
According to Sotto, the province’s own swabbing policy is a ‘win-win situation’ both for the government and the ROFs and OFWs.
“The purpose for which these protocols were put in place has not been defeated. It’s actually a win-win situation for both the OFWs and ROFs and the government. This is an innovative, safe, and reasonable protocol especially for our OFWs,” said Sotto.
He also said that the policy did not violate those required and mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF), even if its nature is different.
“The IATF Guidelines give additional burden to our Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and Returning Overseas Filipino (ROF) by requiring them to spend their time and hard-earned money to stay in hotels and accredited quarantine facilities for a minimum of ten (10) days from arrival and swab test done only seven (7) days from arrival,” Sotto explained.
Other officials and groups that backed Garcia’s Swab-Upon-Arrival policy included the Integrated Bar of the Philippines – Cebu Chapter (IBP-Cebu), and at least eight Cebuano lawmakers.
The procedure was first introduced in March as Executive Order (EO) No. 17. In May it officially became law after the Provincial Board passed Provincial Ordinance No. 2021 – 04.
It swayed away from the whole-of-nation swabbing policy being mandated by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF).
Under IATF’s guidelines, ROFs and OFWs will have to complete the required 14-day quarantine rule, in which 10 days will be in designated quarantine facilities or hotel rooms, and the remaining four days in their respective houses.
They will only be subjected to swab on the seventh day since their arrival.
But Garcia remained firm on her decision to keep Cebu’s policies despite multiple attempts from national government officials, including the orders from the Palace to divert all international flights bound for MCIA to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. /rcg
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