AFTER receiving an invitation from Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III on Friday, June 11, 2021, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia will virtually attend the Senate’s hybrid public hearing on Tuesday, June 15, 2021, which will tackle the government’s coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) response and existing quarantine protocols.
She is expected to share about the Covid-19 quarantine protocols in Cebu Province.
The governor has been pushing for the swab-upon-arrival policy for returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), saying that the Executive Order (EO) 17 she issued shortens their quarantine period in a hotel and consequently eases their emotional and financial burden.
EO 17 was later strengthened through the issuance of Provincial Ordinance 2021-14.
The policy has gained support from nine senators, including Sotto. The others include Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Win Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., Francis Tolentino, Joel Villanueva, and Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri.
READ: Cebu’s swab-upon-arrival policy gains more support
In March 2021, the Cebu Provincial Government started testing all Filipinos arriving at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport for Covid-19. While waiting for results, OFWs and ROFs are quarantined in a hotel for a maximum of three days.
Upon testing negative, they may leave the hotel and go home to continue their quarantine for the remaining balance of the 14 days. The local government unit where they are residing is responsible for the second RT-PCR test on the seventh day.
READ: PB amends ordinance to include 2nd swab, new quarantine rules
The current national policy mandates a 10-day quarantine in a hotel and swabbing on the seventh day from arrival.
In his invitation letter to Garcia, Sotto said that among the concerns to be discussed during the public hearing are “the utilization of the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program’s budgetary provisions and the feasibility of amending IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) quarantine guidelines, with the end in view to streamline the processes, evaluate existing protocols and the possibility of exempting fully vaccinated individuals from mandatory travel quarantine.”
The Senate’s Committee of the Whole will reconvene on Tuesday to tackle the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program and related issues, including quarantine protocols.
The committee began conducting an inquiry on the vaccination program through Adopted Senate Resolution 79, which was passed in December 2020. (PR/With NRC)