Inbound overseas arrivals limited to Cebu residents for the meantime
CEBU CITY, Philippines – Starting this December 23, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) will only accept travelers from abroad who are residents of Cebu.
This after Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia on December 20 issued Executive Order (EO) No. 49, limiting the entry of international arrivals to Cebu residents.
Garcia, in a press conference, said the move, which she called a “Cebuanos First” policy, was made in order to address the scarcity of hotel rooms in the island province.
“We will accept only Cebuano residents or those with Cebuano families to come home to until our hotel room situation shall have improved” said Garcia.
Arriving passengers will have to present their valid identification card (ID) and fill up a declaration form in which they will indicate their destination here in Cebu.
The provincial government will also implement its swab-upon-arrival rule wherein those who will test negative of the infection will be released, and will undergo another round of swab test on the 5th day.
Hundreds of individuals in Cebu now occupy hotel rooms for shelter and electricity following the destruction left by Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).
“This is a crisis situation. And as I said, Cebuanos also need these hotel rooms, so I am declaring a policy of Cebu first. We must first take care of our own,” Garcia pointed out.
“If the hotel can no longer keep up with the hygiene and sanitation requirements, because of limitation of resources an manpower and limitation of electricity, fuel, then we might have outbreak in our hands and that will only compound to the severity of our situation right now,” she added.
The Capitol’s new order, however, is only temporary and will only last until January 3, 2022.
“Meaning in the meantime, for ten days from December 23 until January 3rd (non-Cebu residents will not be accommodated in MCIA) because of this present situation right here, we are not normal,” she explained.
MCIA has reopened last December 19 for domestic flights and is expected to do so for international flights today, Tuesday (December 21).
The governor already met with representatives from concerned national government agencies and hoteliers from the Hotel Resort Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) to discuss concerns over the influx of Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) amid the crisis caused by Odette.
The entire Cebu is under state of calamity due to the devastation caused by Odette.
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