On letting foreigners leave via Cebu: Gwen says Locsin does not 'need to beg'
CEBU CITY, Philippines – "He does not need to beg."
This is what Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia told Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddy" Locsin Jr after he tweeted about having difficulty getting foreigners out of the country via Cebu.
"He does not have to beg," Garcia told reporters on Wednesday, April 1. "It's Secretary Locsin. All that we ask is, please, coordinate," she added.
The governor previously took issue with how the airport manager Steve Dicdican and the Department of Tourism Central Visayas were allowing foreigners to check into establishments and not coordinating with the province, despite a lockdown in Cebu due to the coronavirus outbreak. (READ: Swiss, German travelers reportedly enter Cebu despite province-wide lockdown)
Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr tweeted on Tuesday, March 31, that "Cebu makes it hard for evacuees to enter its airport."
"Cebu makes it hard for evacuees to enter its airport. On my knees, I beg Cebu, please," he tweeted around 10 am Wednesday.
The last Germans in different parts of the Visayas and Mindanao left via Manila and Cebu last weekend.
LAST GERMAN FLIGHT OUT planned for this weekend to take last tourists stranded in Palawan, Siargao, Dumagete, Iloilo, Bohol, Caticlan, Surigao, Tacloban, Mindanao & Bacolod to Cebu and Manila. Cebu makes it hard for evacuees to enter its airport. On my knees, I beg Cebu, please.— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 1, 2020
In another tweet in his thread, Locsin explained that he was mainly looking out for the tourism industry, all in the effort to dodge possible reprisals from other countries.
"I am trying to spare the Philippine tourism from a justifiable retaliation in the future. I am also asking out local officials to put themselves in the shoes/rubber slippers of foreign tourists stuck here for the duration- out in the open with their kids or price-gouged in hotels," Locsin tweeted.
Assisted by our @DFAPHL Cebu consular office, 209 Swedes, Norwegians & Danes flew out of MCIA this morning for Copenhagen via Phuket onboard a special flight of the Kingdom of Denmark. Poles, Germans & Austrians leaving on their respective repat flights tonight. @teddyboylocsin pic.twitter.com/h1KPuicnLV— Dodo Dulay (@dododulay) March 28, 2020
Her issue, Garcia said, was with letting foreigners visit public spaces.
"Because, we have never stopped the airport operations in the matter of inbound and outbound flights," Garcia said.
She said her EO bans the entry of the persons into the province, but not the flights.
For foreigners leaving, Garcia preferred that the foreigners go straight to the airport to take their exit flights
In an interview with Cebu Daily News, Dicdican denied that the airport was the one which coordinated the stay of the foreigners in the Waterfront Hotel in Lapu-Lapu City.
"There were stranded foreigners who arrived via sweeper flight yesterday in Cebu from other parts of Visayas so they could take onward flights to their home countries. We were just as surprised about their arrival as there was no prior coordination with the airport nor with the Department of Tourism,” Dicdican said.
He also asserted in the same inteview that the national government has authority over the airport.
“I am just following the law and the national directive. I suggest LGUs do the same. The air transportation sector is under the authority of the President and the DOTr/IATF during this time of national emergency, not the LGUs,” Dicdican said. – with a report from Ryan Macasero/Rappler.com