Board member to IATF: Why admin cases weren’t filed against us?
CEBU CITY, Philippines – The legislative body of the Capitol stands by its decision to adopt into a Provincial Ordinance the province’s Swab-Upon-Arrival policy for Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
With this, Cebu 3rd District Board Member, lawyer John Ismael Borgonia, challenged the national government’s COVID-19 task force to question the ordinance’s validity.
“If naa tay naviolate nga base sa ilahang polisiya sa IATF, well, ning file na unta sila to declare as ultra vires atong ordinance,” Borgonia told reporters in a press interview on Wednesday, June 9.
(If we violated any policies based on IATF, well, they could have questioned our move and declare our ordinance as ultra veris.)
“And, of course, kami unta administratively liable mi if they believe sayup among gibuhat but ilahang gibuhat nuun, gisakripisyo ang mga Sugbuanon,” he added.
(And, of course, we should be held administratively liable if they believe what we did was illegal but what they did instead was to sacrifice Cebuanos.)
Borgonia is the primary author of Provincial Ordinance No. 2021 – 04, which adopted Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order (EO) No. 17.
The EO, introduced last March, ordered all incoming ROFs and OFWs to be swabbed upon arrival.
This, however, deviated from the whole-of-nation the IATF is implementing, in which arriving Filipino travelers must be swabbed only on the 7th day of their arrival.
Last May, the Provincial Board approved the ordinance adopting EO No. 17, making it part of local laws.
Borgonia on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, also said the Provincial Board will be conducting a special session on Friday, June 11, to discuss how to reinforce Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-04.
He added that among the items they will be discussing is to amend the ordinance to pave way for the recent changes such as the double-swabbing procedure for Cebuano residents.
The Swab-Upon-Arrival policy directs all incoming Filipino travelers arriving in Cebu from abroad to designated hotel rooms for a maximum of three days pending their swab test results.
While they can be released once they test negative, another round of swab tests – on the 7th day upon arrival – will be made in compliance with IATF’s policies.
All of these, however, swayed away from the ‘whole-of-nation’ approach the IATF is implementing, which requires OFWs and ROFs to be quarantined for 14 days upon their arrival, in which the first 10 days are to be spent in an accredited quarantine facility.
Quarantined travelers will be swabbed only on the 7th day from their arrival.
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