DILG seeks dialogue after Cebu accepts unvaxxed foreign travelers

Gillan Ropero, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 10 2022 12:54 PM | Updated as of Feb 10 2022 02:29 PM

Immigration counters at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport at Terminal 2. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Immigration counters at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport at Terminal 2. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of the Interior and Local Government is seeking a dialogue with Cebu province after its governor issued a measure allowing the entry of unvaccinated foreign travelers, an official said Thursday.

Starting Thursday the Philippines has reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international tourists from 157 visa-free countries.

Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said he was not aware if Cebu province had consulted the agency's regional or central office regarding its latest policy. He noted it is the Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 that issued the national policy.

“This is not the first time that a similar predicament happened. It already happened in the past but we were able to resolve that amicably with the province of Cebu,” he said in a virtual public forum.

“So I think the course of action moving forward is to do again another dialogue with the province of Cebu so that they can conform with the policies of the national government."

President Rodrigo Duterte last year ordered Cebu province to follow IATF protocols after it allowed COVID-19 testing of passengers upon arrival in the airport when the former required it on the 7th day of the travelers' quarantine.

The DILG, meantime, has granted safety seal certification to 19,092 out of 42,458 government facilities that have so far applied, Malaya said. These establishments must renew their safety seal accreditation every 6 months, he added.

The Department of Tourism has given safety seals to 1,582 establishments, majority of which are in Metro Manila, Western Visayas and Calabarzon, said Virgilio Maguigad, director for tourism standards and regulation. 

A safety seal is among the additional requirements to be considered for an area to deescalate to Alert Level 1, authorities earlier said.

Video courtesy of the Department of Health‚Äč