Palace denies Cebu 'defiance' forced flight rerouting

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2021 02:15 PM

Palace denies Cebu 'defiance' forced flight rerouting 1
Security personnel stand at the arrival gate at the arrival area of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 1 in Pasay City on May 24, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — Malacañang on Friday denied that local officials' supposed defiance of COVID-19 protocols forced the national government to reroute flights to Cebu. 

The Palace on Thursday diverted to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport all international flights bound for the Mactan-Cebu International Airport from May 29 to June 5. 

"Wala naman po sigurong defiance," Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a public briefing, when asked what prompted the flight rerouting. 

(There is perhaps no defiance.) 
 
"Ang nangyari po kasi sa Cebu, naubusan po talaga sila ng hotel," the official said.

(What happened here in Cebu is they ran out of hotels.) 

The province had closed its airport about two days before the order because its quarantine hotel facilities for incoming travelers were already full, he said. 

Cebu tests passengers upon arrival in the airport. The inter-agency task force leading the country's COVID-19 response requires this testing on the 7th day of travelers' quarantine. 

Thursday's Palace memo ordered local government units to enforce national protocols "regardless of any specific protocols that may be issued by LGUs."

"Habang inaayos lang po ‘yan ay iri-reroute muna ang mga flights. Panandalian lang po ‘yan at inaasahan nating maaayos na iyong sistema at magkakaroon na tayo ng sapat na hotel rooms sa Cebu," he added. 

(While that is being fixed, flights would be rerouted. That is temporary, and we expect the system will be fixed and we will have enough hotel rooms in Cebu.) 

Video courtesy of PTV