LAWYERS from the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Cebu Chapter (IBP-Cebu) and two more senators have expressed support for Cebu’s international arrival protocols and called on the national government to adopt these.
At the Capitol, the Cebu Provincial Board is scheduled to hold a special session on Friday, June 11, to uphold and fortify Provincial Ordinance 2021-04, the local law behind Cebu’s arrival protocols.
PB Member (3rd District) John Ismael Borgonia, who authored the ordinance, said he believed that the ordinance did not violate any IATF policies. He challenged the national government to file cases against the board instead of making Cebuanos suffer by diverting the flights.
IBP-Cebu, in a resolution approved on June 8, 2021, said Cebu’s policy to test returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) for coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) upon arrival is responsive to the needs of returning Filipinos.
The group said the policy is consistent with the constitutional mandate to provide “adequate social services and an improved quality of life for all as well as the protection and promotion of the right to health and of health consciousness of the people” during the pandemic.
It called on all government agencies to harmonize policies and procedures governing the arrival of ROFs and OFWs by adopting Cebu’s swab-upon-arrival policy.
Copies of its resolution will be sent to the Office of the President, Department of Health, Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Office of the Governor of Cebu and all other concerned agencies.
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara, who is also a lawyer, said the policy “is practical and makes perfect sense.”
He urged the IATF to study Cebu’s testing policy and see whether this can be adopted or incorporated in its protocols on Covid-19 testing for international arrivals.