Swiss, German travelers reportedly enter Cebu despite province-wide lockdown
CEBU, Philippines – Around 38 Swiss and German tourists, who came from different parts of the Philippines, were reportedly allowed to land at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport via private flights despite a province-wide lockdown ordered by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia.
On Sunday, March 29, Garcia said that sources told her that the foreigners landed in the general aviation area of the airport. They later checked in at two hotels in Mactan.
Garcia said this violated the safety protocols being followed in Cebu province to stem the spread of the deadly coronavirus. (READ: Cebu province orders 24-hour home quarantine for students, elderly)
Garcia said that it seemed the foreigners were given “special treatment”.
“I did not want to say that word, but Cebu has become the dumping ground of these foreigners coming from all over the Visayas and Mindanao and even Manila," Garcia said.
On Friday, March 27, Garcia signed Executive Order No. 5-E which banned all incoming international passengers, including repatriated Filipinos such as Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs). That ban also applies to all incoming domestic passengers. It does not cover outgoing travels.
Garcia pointed out that there are still other functional airports in the country.
"Manila continues to function. They can afford to take private planes direct to Manila," she said.
Garcia said that she first heard about the foreigners from Cordova Mayor Mary Therese Cho, who reportedly got alarmed that there were German nationals checking into hotels in her town.
Garcia said it was unclear if this was the first time that foreigners had entered Cebu after the provincial government imposed the lockdown.
"It's been such a frustrating battle when fellow Cebuanos do not cooperate with us, do not join hands with us to protect Cebu and the Cebuanos," she said.
Steve Dicdican, Mactan-Cebu International Airport General Manager, supposedly failed to inform Garcia of the foreign nationals’ arrival.
Garcia also said she has had warned Department of Tourism (DOT)- 7 Regional Director Shalimar Tamano to stop allowing foreigners to enter Cebu. – Rappler.com