LGUs not authorized to suspend flights, says DILG chief
Local government units have no authority to suspend flights, whether international or domestic, in their respective areas of jurisdiction, Local Government Secretary Eduardo Ano said on Friday.
The Department of Interior and Local Government chief issued the reminder after Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio issued separate orders, initially suspending the air travels to and from Clark Airport in Pampanga to Davao City, and later all flights, both international and domestic, subject to certain exemptions.
The Davao Region COVID-19 Task Force, chaired by Duterte-Carpio, has placed the entire Davao Region under lockdown to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
"Airport flights, it's not within the authority of the LGU to cancel the airport flights, particularly domestic flights because that belongs to another government department," Ano said.
He said any decision of the LGUs should be coordinated with the national government.
"So there must be a coordination, there must be a dialogue and there must be an agreement. So you’ll find a lot of people gets stranded because some LGU officials suddenly declared that domestic flights in their respective areas are already cancelled or will not be allowed," he explained.
Because of the cancellation of flights in some airports, he said some overseas Filipino workers and even foreigners "cannot pass through a particular jurisdiction, they cannot get through the international airport."
Asked if Duterte-Carpio should be reminded of her order, Ano said, "Everyone is reminded. We are not pinpointing an individual LGU or person. This is the guidelines of the President (Rodrigo Duterte) intended for all LGUs."
Ano also said that only Luzon is under enhanced community quarantine or similar to total lockdown.
Visayas and Mindanao are not under a total lockdown, but they have to option to impose a general community quarantine, he said.
"But before they can issue the enhanced or the lockdown, it has to be cleared with the DILG and the DOH (Department of Health). So, they have to follow with the guidelines to prevent confusion and no one will be stranded," he explained. Celerina Monte/DMS