Roque claims diversion of flights was Garcia’s idea
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the idea to divert inbound international flights from Cebu to Manila came from Cebu itself.
He said Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia actually recommended the diversion because she knew the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) did not agree with Cebu’s swabbing policy for Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs).
“I am not sure if I am breaking confidentiality here, but I believe the suggestion to divert the flights came from Governor Garcia herself,” Roque said.
“As she mentioned was, ‘if you do not approve our policy in Cebu, divert the flights to Manila because I do not have jurisdiction.’ So, it came from Governor Garcia,” said Roque in a press conference in Cebu City.
This was Roque’s response when asked if Cebu was being punished with the diversion of flights because of its ROF policy.
However, in previous statements, Governor Garcia said she was informed that the diversion of flights was being considered by the IATF.
She did not mention suggesting or recommending such to the IATF.
CDN Digital tried to reach Garcia but the governor had not replied to queries.
Roque said that as the spokesperson of the IATF, he had to insist that the national policy should be implemented.
However, as a “friend of Cebu,” he believes that Cebu’s experience must be looked into on why it remained under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) for long.
“Of course, I am the spokesperson of the IATF, I have to say as a matter, of course, the national policy must be implemented, but I also have to say as a friend of Cebu that the whole nation should look into Cebu’s experience and find out why Cebu has made this milestone,” he said.
Roque is also aware that many senators and national legislators have expressed support to Cebu’s policy on ROF.
He said the officials of the IATF are not oblivious to the policy.
“We respect the views of the senators and the IATF is not oblivious of Cebu’s policy,” he added.
As to whether the diversion of the flights will end as promised today, June 12, 2021, Roque has no idea yet.
He said the President had not decided on whether the flight diversion would continue.
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