JUST as the arrivals of international flights at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) resumed on Sunday, June 6, 2021, Malacañang issued an extension of the diversion of Cebu-bound international flights to Metro Manila.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea signed on June 5, 2021 a memorandum that extends the diversion of international flights bound for MCIA to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City.
The MCIA management and other agencies involved in the aviation industry apparently did not receive a copy of the extension memorandum, thus the airport welcomed international flights from Doha, Qatar and Singapore on Sunday, June 6.
The extension of the flight diversion is until 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 12, and its purpose is to give MCIA the time to follow the protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Cebu-bound international flights to be diverted to Manila
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MCIA obeys Cebu province
The last international flight carrying 237 passengers arrived at MCIA from Doha, Qatar at 4:46 p.m. on Monday, June 7.
The first diversion of international flights happened from May 29 to June 5, and it was seen as a rebuke of Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, who had insisted on implementing her own testing and quarantine protocols for overseas Filipinos workers (OFWs) and returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) arriving at MCIA.
IATF policy requires swab testing for Covid-19 only on the seventh day of arrival, with OFWs and ROFs undergoing 10-day facility-based quarantine and then four-day home quarantine after that if they test negative.
But in Cebu, Garcia’s memorandum issued on May 20, 2021 requires two swab tests to be conducted on OFWs and ROFs.
The first is upon arrival at the Cebu airport and the second on Day 7 from arrival, which would be conducted by the local government unit of destination.
This memorandum also requires those with negative test results to undergo home quarantine after they are released from their quarantine hotels and complete the IATF protocol of 14 days of quarantine from arrival.
The May 20 memorandum amended Garcia’s May 13, 2021 memorandum, which specified the arrival protocol for transiting OFWs and ROFs, and reiterated the arrival protocol for Cebu residents based on Executive Order No. 17 and Provincial Ordinance (PB) No. 2021-04.
Under EO 17, issued in March, OFWs and ROFs are tested on arrival at the MCIA. They shall stay in quarantine hotels only for a maximum of three days or until their test results come out. Those who test negative are allowed to go home without further requirements.
On June 6, eight local lawmakers signed a manifesto supporting her latest policy, while the Department of Health 7 sees it as an innovation by the Capitol.