Provincial Government of Cebu has implemented a new policy of putting an end with the mandatory quarantine for the repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) coming home to the island unless they are confirmed to be infected with COVID-19.
On May 10, 2021, Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia called for an emergency meeting with OPAV Undersecretary Jonji Gonzales, DILG-7 Regional Director Leocadio Trovela, Visayas chief implementer of the national task force against Covid-19 Retired General Melquiades Feliciano, chief pathologist and Spokesperson of DOH-7 Dr. Mary Jean Loreche, DTI-7 OIC Regional Director Ma. Elena Arbon, Bureau of Quarantine Regional Chief Dr. Terence Bermejo, OWWA Head Grace Quiño, GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corp. (GMCAC) officials headed by their chief executive advisor Andrew Harrison and Acting MCIAA Manager Atty. Glenn Napoli.
Executive Order (EO) 17 has been signed and released by Governor Garcia. This was then passed into law on May 10 through and approved ordinance by the Provincial Board (PB). Third District PB Member John Ismael Borgonia penned the ordinance and immediately took effect after Gov. Garcia has signed it.
EO 17 states that all OFWs and ROFs who are bound for the Province of Cebu and the cities of Cebu, Mandae and Lapu-Lapu will be swabbed for COVID-19 upon arrival at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA). Should the test results be negative after their three-day stay in their qhara dacilities, they will then be allowed go home.
“If need be, I will fight for Cebu. I will fight for this local autonomy,” Garcia said during the meeting.
This was her statement learning about DOH Secretary Francisck Duque III’s remarks on the whole-of-nation approach for Cebu.
She said that provinces, cities and municipalities have the autonomy to implement their own policies.
Unless the OFWs of ROFs are not Cebu residents, they will not need to adhere to EO 17, said spokesperson and pathologist of DOH7, Dr. Mary Jean Loreche.
Bernadas, who was also in attendance through Zoom, said thay yje ‘one island swabbing’ policy was agreed upon the leaders of Cebu Citt, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.
“As per your direction, the Executive Order (No. 17) for the island of Cebu and that would include, after also consultation with the tri-cities, this will be a one island swabbing upon arrival,” Bernadas said via Zoom video call during the meeting.
The DOH in Central Visayas will be spearheading the free swab test for OFWs and ROFs upon their arrival at the MCIA.
With this, the Cebuano OFWs and ROFs would need not to wait for 10 days upon arrival in Cebu before they can go home after being swabbed.
“It makes sense man gud nga ig-abot testing dayon dritso para maka-save og oras ug maka-save sad ang gobyerno nga di na sila magdugay kung mag-quarantine pa,” he said. “Gihimo ni nga ordinansa para mas naay permanency. Ug naa poy ngipon pud in support sad sa Executive Order ni governor,” Borgonia said.