Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s Executive Order won’t cover the entire province after all.
Planning to go to Cebu soon? If your destination is within the charter cities of Cebu, Mandaue, or Lapu-Lapu, then you will still need to present a negative RT-PCR result upon your arrival at Mactan Airport. This is because these cities are not within the jurisdiction of the Cebu Province.
Alfred M. Reyes, President of the Hotel Resort & Restaurants Association of Cebu, issued this clarification to BusinessMirror. He said that while the executive order is beneficial to the province’s tourism, it is still not applicable to the tri-cities of Cebu, Mandaue, and Lapu-Lapu.
“First thing the airline will ask you, where are you going? Then they will look for your RT-PCR [test result], especially if you are traveling to the tri-cities [Cebu City, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu], they will really ask it from you. If your destination is going to the province, that is a different story. [But] these cities require negative RT-PCR tests [from tourists],” explained.
Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella echoed the same to the press on Tuesday, the day when Cebu was set to reopen to tourists.
“After consultation with our medical experts, we’ve decided to continue to abide by DOH testing protocols,” Labella said.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed Executive Order No. 12 on Monday, February 22, which introduces a more lenient set of travel requirements for tourists visiting the province of Cebu. Under the order, tourists now have to secure just two documents:
- a medical certificate provided by a qualified medical institution 72 hours prior to their arrival,
- and proof of pre-booking at any accommodation accredited by the Cebu Provincial Task Force.
Upon the presentation of requirements, they will also be required to pass the symptoms screening upon their arrival into and before their departure from the province.
“Don’t mess with us”
Despite Cebu experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases and being considered as a COVID-19 hotspot, Gov. Garcia remained adamant in issuing the Executive Order, citing the urgency to revive the province’s economy through its tourism industry. She also resisted all proposals to revert Cebu to a stricter quarantine level, saying that these are “wrong recommendations” and that Cebu will “never again” be placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), according to Inquirer.
“Don’t you dare try because I will not agree, and the Cebuanos will not agree that you will make our lives miserable. Don’t mess with us. We can take care of ourselves. I will not and never again accept a lockdown. I’ll fight for Cebu and Cebuanos because Cebu is moving on and moving forward,” she said during a press conference on Friday, February 19.
Gov. Garcia, who previously drew flak for refusing to wear a mask at the height of the pandemic and falsely promoting tuob or steam inhalation as a cure for the virus, said that Cebu citizens and the province’s healthcare system are still holding up well.
She also said that despite the reported presence of the two new detected COVID-19 mutations from the UK and South Africa in Cebu, the province will not impose additional health protocols.