Monday, July 26, 2021

Statement of Secretary Michael Dino on the conflicting health policies


We have utmost trust that both President Duterte and Governor Garcia only have the welfare of the people at heart, and our support for our brave and passionate leaders remains absolute and strong.

We understand the position of Gov. Gwen Garcia, as we believe that the protocols set by the Province of Cebu are based on science, actual data and real experience on the ground. Thus, this office made it a point that the protocols being implemented by virtue of Governor Gwen Garcia’s EO 17, supported by Cebu Provincial Ordinance No. 2021-04, were presented to the President and duly taken into consideration.

Yesterday, the President has finally spoken and instructed that the arrival protocols framed by the IATF-MEID be followed to ensure public safety. We respect the wisdom of the President and shall expect all parties to willfully and dutifully implement the IATF arrival protocols for OFWs and ROFs as directed.

We remain grateful to Gov. Gwen and the Cebu Provincial Board for taking good care of Cebu and of the Cebuanos. In this light, a dialogue between the Province of Cebu and the IATF will be held on June 28, 2021, and we remain optimistic that both groups will be able to find a practical compromise, one that will hopefully enable us to achieve that delicate balance between public health, economic welfare and humanitarian considerations for the greater good of all parties involved.

In the meantime, we request the DOH-7 to continue, still at no cost to the arriving international passengers, the test-upon-arrival protocol that Cebu has been practicing since last year, considering that this key protocol has proven effective in allowing us to detect cases as early as possible, while at the same time, continuing the IATF protocol of testing on the seventh day after arrival. We also request the Governor to provisionally implement the IATF requirement of hotel quarantine for ten (10) days after arrival, at least until a mutually-agreed yet still effective set of policies and protocols may be reached in the upcoming dialogue.

The President has also expressed that he is considering to pay for the quarantine costs of our Returning Oversea Filipinos (ROF), aside from the existing practice of OWWA shouldering the quarantine costs for our Oversea Filipino Workers (OFW). We welcome this consideration as this will surely uplift the added financial burden of our ROFs.

Given these recent developments, we are therefore also requesting that the passenger cap for inbound international flights to Cebu via the Mactan-Cebu International Airport be lifted, subject to the current capacity of the quarantine hotels in Cebu.

We thank President Duterte for coming up with this fair and practical solution to the present dilemma, which will help lessen the burden of our OFWs and ROFs, while also vigilantly looking after the health and welfare of all Filipinos.


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