DOH-7: Swab-Upon-Arrival up to Capitol
Regional health office says collecting swab samples from ROFs, OFWs at Mactan airport is now up to health authorities from the Capitol
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Collecting swab samples from Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) upon arriving at Mactan airport is now up to health authorities from the Capitol, the regional health office said.
Dr. Jaime Bernadas, director of the Department of Health in Central Visayas (DOH-7), said on Tuesday, June 22, 2021, that they will be following the orders of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We are a national government agency and as such, we are bound to follow the orders by the Chief Executive,” Bernadas told reporters in a press conference.
He also said implementing the swab-upon-arrival rule for ROFs and OFWs at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) now lies in the hands of health officials from the provincial government.
But Bernadas added that they will continue to closely coordinate with local governments in Central Visayas to come up with a ‘win-win solution’ to address the ongoing COVID-19.
“(But) as a devolved agency, the regional office was to work closely with the provinces and municipalities… Our job is to try and seek for win-win solutions so we could work with the (Cebu) province and still abide by the mandate of the President and the IATF,” he explained.
To recall, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) No. 23 on Monday, June 21, to warn and remind concerned government agencies and stakeholders to follow Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-05, or also known as the Swab-Upon-Arrival policy.
Those who wouldn’t comply may face administrative and criminal charges, particularly illegal detention, serious illegal detention, and kidnapping, since the ordinance mandates ROFs and OFWs to stay in designated hotels for quarantine up to a maximum of three days only.
Bernadas, however, refused to comment whether or not DOH-7 will follow the three-day maximum quarantine period following Garcia’s EO.
“We’d like to defer the matter to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) since they are the ones with the jurisdiction over it,” he pointed out.
President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday in his taped weekly briefing that Cebu could not be exempted from the implementation of national quarantine protocols and COVID-19 testing.
Cebu requires testing of inbound travelers for COVID-19 on arrival and allows them to undergo home quarantine. But the national COVID-19 task force requires inbound travelers to undergo a strict 10-day quarantine and be tested on the seventh day.
Duterte said he understood the eagerness of returning Filipinos to get home, but he said rules must be followed because of the pandemic. / with reports from INQUIRER.net
READ MORE: Swab-Upon-Arrival in Cebu resumes on June
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