GOVERNOR Gwendolyn Garcia reiterated that she has no qualms about chartered flights ferrying foreigners out of the country via the Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA).
"I'm really not making things hard, but I also beseech their understanding that we are trying to protect Cebu, so let us just properly coordinate," she said in her regular live news conference through Sugbo News on Wednesday, April 1, 2020.
Garcia was reacting to a series of tweets made by Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. in his official Twitter page on Wednesday morning.
In his first tweet, Locsin wrote "LAST GERMAN FLIGHT OUT planned for this weekend to take last tourists stranded in Palawan, Siargao, Dumaguete, Iloilo, Bohol, Caticlan, Surigao, Tacloban, Mindanao and Bacolod to Cebu and Manila. Cebu makes it hard for evacuees to enter its airport. On my knees, I beg Cebu, please."
Locsin added: "I am begging. I know there is an IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) Resolution overriding LGUs (local government units) but that is not working; maybe the Reso rubbed LGUs the wrong way. Best way is to massage them into helping get the foreigners out for the sake of the future of Phil tourism."
He followed this up with another quoted tweet saying, "I am trying to spare Philippine tourism from a justified retaliation in the future. I am also asking our local officials to put themselves in the shoes/rubber slippers of foreign tourists stuck here for the duration -- out in the open with kids or price-gouged in hotels."
Garcia suggested that before foreigners are taken to Cebu, their embassies may tap the region of origin first or the nearest local government unit with an airport of international standard.
If that would not be possible, Garcia said she only asks for coordination with the Provincial Government.
She added that what would be most ideal is to ferry arriving passengers on a bus, escorted by the police, directly to the MCIA.
"That's the most ideal. If that protocol can be followed, then we have a working procedure here that can best ensure that this restriction of movement will also protect the rest of us Cebuanos who are here. It's really okay so please coordinate with us," Garcia said.
The governor reiterated that she is not interfering with the operations of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA).
But when these passengers are sent out to the hotels without coordination and proper procedures, that's when she will call out the MCIAA, Garcia said.
"Let's stop trying to confuse the public... Let's draw the distinction. Imo (MCIAA general manager lawyer Steve Dicdican) silang gibuhian. Paggawas nila sa airport, dili na to under your authority. Unless mag mayor pud ka sa Lapu-Lapu or Cordova kay didto man ang uban napadala. Pagklaro, mag-GM ba ka o mag mayor ba ka?" Garcia said. (RTF)