Diverting Cebu flights to Manila temporary, says Palace
Diverting international flights from Mactan-Cebu International Airport to Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Metro Manila is temporary, Malacanang said on Friday.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque cited that the lack of hotels to be used as quarantine facilities for inbound travelers prompted the government to redirect the flights.
"Perhaps there's no defiance, what happened in Cebu is that they lack hotels and it's only now that the DOT (Department of Tourism) approved to have mixed use of their hotels," he said in the "Laging Handa" public briefing.
Contrary to the policy issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Cebu came out with an ordinance which allowed returning overseas Filipino workers and other inbound travelers to immediately undergo COVID-19 tests and as soon as the negative RT-PCR test results come out, they can go home.
Based on IATF resolution, all arriving travelers shall undergo a 14-day quarantine upon arrival and the RT-PCR testing shall be conducted on the seventh day of quarantine.
Notwithstanding a negative test result, the arriving traveler shall complete the facility-based quarantine period of 10 days.
"So while we are fixing the arrival protocols and before this memorandum, the Cebu International Airport closed for two days because they didn't have the hotels to place the arriving OFWs and the overseas Filipinos," Roque said.
He said while the problem is being fixed, incoming flights to Cebu have to be diverted to Manila.
"So, that is only temporary and we're expecting that the system will be fixed and there will be sufficient hotel rooms in Cebu," he added.
Roque said all the arriving travelers will have to undergo quarantine in Luzon before they are allowed to go to Cebu.
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea issued a memorandum diverting all international flights bound for Mactan-Cebu International Airport to NAIA starting May 29 until June 5. Celerina Monte/DMS