The Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) on Thursday assured Cebuanos that it observed proper protocol in handling foreign nationals arriving at the airport to catch their sweeper flights back to their respective countries.
“We would like to assure our fellow Cebuanos that we, the (MCIA) are following the proper protocols at the airport in dealing with the stranded foreign nationals,” a statement from the authority said.
This, after 38 foreign nationals arrived at the Mactan airport last Saturday and allowed check-in in nearby hotels in Lapu-Lapu City that sparked a question from Governor Gwendolyn Garcia over the alleged lack of coordination and observance of precautionary measures in dealing with them.
The MCIAA board said the foreign nationals who will come to Cebu to board sweeper flights will “go through quarantine checks, and are required to follow airport precautionary measures” against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
It said the airport is not responsible for arranging the accommodations, stressing that it is not a function of the airport to ensure the billeting of the stranded foreigners.
“Any LGU that wishes for coordination on the hotels being used by stranded foreign nationals should address such concern with the foreign embassies and consulates, or the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or Department of Tourism (DOT), as these bookings are not within the purview of MCIAA’s functions,” the statement read.
Earlier, lawyer Steve Dicdican, MCIAA co-chair and general manager, said foreign nationals who wish to go out of the country through sweeper flights should not be barred from leaving the airport.
He vowed to continue facilitating flights of arriving stranded foreigners until they can board their flights back to their places.
The board stressed that the “repatriation of stranded foreign nationals is not the MCIAA’s initiative,” clarifying that they are “only following duly established directives of the national government, as mandated by the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
Garcia sounded the alarm after receiving report that the 38 foreigners from Tagbilaran and Dumaguete were allowed to check in at Lapu-Lapu City hotels, in spite of the enhanced community quarantine established in the province since March 30.
Dicdican however said only the national government can regulate air travel and the current rule is to allow stranded foreign nationals, expatriate Filipinos, their spouses and children and returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to return to their countries of origin. (PNA)