The rerouting of overseas flights initially bound for Cebu to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila was done due to the lack of quarantine hotels for returning Filipinos, Malacañang said on Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque made the remark following the diversion of flights bound for Mactan airport to NAIA from May 29 to June 5 to curb COVID-19 transmission.
“Wala naman po sigurong defiance. Ang nangyari po kasi sa Cebu, naubusan po talaga sila ng hotel ‘no at ngayon lang po naaprubahan ng DOT na magkaroon ng mixed use sa kanilang mga hotels,” Roque said the action was spurred by Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia’s reported insistence that returning Filipinos should be tested in Cebu.
[This is not because of defiance. It was because Cebu ran out of quarantine facilities for returning Filipinos, and the Tourism deparment just recently approved use of hotels for quarantine and leisure.]
The national government requires a 14-day quarantine for all returning overseas Filipinos.
They are subjected to an RT-PCR COVID-19 test on the seventh day in quarantine since new variants of coronavirus tend to be detectable after a few days since the individual got infected with it.
“So habang inaayos lang po natin iyong arrival protocols at nagsara na ng dalawang araw iyong Cebu International Airport dahil wala nga po silang mga hotels na paglalagyan ng mga dumarating na OFWs at mga Overseas Filipinos. Habang inaayos po iyan ay iri-reroute muna mga flights,” Roque said.
[While we iron out arrival protocols, we closed the Cebu airport for the meantime because of lack of quarantine facilities. We decided to re-route the flights while we address this issue.]
“Panandalian lang po iyan at inaasahan natin na maayos na iyong sistema at magkakaroon ng sapat na hotel rooms diyan sa Cebu,” he added.
[This is only temporary and we expect to have the needed additional quarantine hotels in Cebu soon.]
Given the temporary closure, Roque said returning overseas Filipinos should undergo and finish their 14-day quarantine in Manila. —NB, GMA News