CEBU Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia was within her authority when she ordered the lifting of the swab test requirement for travelers entering Cebu province.
Thus said Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III a day after he was quoted in a media report as saying the Governor may face sanctions for dropping the swab requirement for tourists arriving in Cebu.
“Clearly, in the Omnibus guidelines in the implementation of community quarantine in the Philippines as signed by the President, it is clear there that protocols for non-Apors (non-Authorized Persons Outside of Residence) whether intra-travel or interzonal travel will be subjected to reasonable regulations of the local government. So, in other words, some local governments may require testing, some may not, but these are in alignment or in accordance with the Omnibus Guidelines,” he said during a virtual conference with Cebu media on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.
He clarified that his earlier statement saying the DILG would “force” Garcia to follow protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) was only in response to a speculative question.
“My initial response was only a joke. I said then let’s force the Governor, but eventually, by succeeding statements, I said we will talk to the Governor and reason with her,” Densing said in a mix of Tagalog and English.
“In my experience with the Governor, in the past, though, she had mentioned executive order which is disaligned with the IATF resolutions, eventually, she would follow and adjust her executive order,” Densing added.