Pangilinan supports Cebu’s double-swabbing for returning overseas Filipinos

June 14, 2021

AS the Senate Committee of the Whole is set to hear on June 15 the national government’s anti-Covid response, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan expresses support for the Cebu provincial government’s double-swabbing policy for returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs).

Recently the Cebu Provincial Board amended Governor Gwendolyn Garcia’s executive order that does away with a mandatory 14-day facility quarantine for ROFs following a negative Covid-19 RT-PCR test result upon arrival in Cebu.

“Pwedeng gawing national policy ang pinapatupad ng Cebu. I believe it is an efficient and cost-effective way of managing the spread of the virus given the current situation. It is worth adapting as a national policy,” said Pangilinan, who had asked for the Senate Committee of the Whole hearing on the national government’s anti-Covid response.

The Cebu Provincial Government through Executive Order No. 17 allowed unimpeded entry of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning non-OFWs in the province following a negative test. The swab test shall be free of charge and shall be made upon arrival in the province. Pending the results of the test, the returning overseas Filipino passenger shall be transferred to a pre-booked hotel for quarantine.

On June 11, 2021, the Cebu Provincial Board approved several amendments to the said EO. It includes a second test on the seventh day from the arrival and allowing passengers to continue their 14-day quarantine at home following the release of the first negative RT-PCR test result.

“The guidelines of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for unvaccinated travelers does not require mandatory federal quarantine but rather orders a 7-day home quarantine for passengers who tested negative in the RT-PCR test. Cebu’s re-testing policy on the 7th day following a negative RT-PCR test could actually be a guarantee our returning kababayans from overseas are indeed Covid-free,” said Pangilinan.

The CDC is the national public health agency of the United States.