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MCIAA Board orders removal of LGU desks in airport
By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Monday, February 8, 2021
LGU desks (right) were all removed by airport personnel last Friday, February 5. (Contributed photo)

All local government unit (LGU) desks, booths and alleyways at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) for passenger screening were removed by 2:00 p.m. Friday, February 5.

This was disclosed by MCIA  Acting General Manager Atty. Glenn B. Napuli in a “Sugbo News” interview today, February 8.

Napuli confirmed that the removal of desks took effect immediately after the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA) Board issued a resolution Friday. He issued a subsequent memorandum to GMR Megawide Cebu Airport-Corporation-MCIAA Emergency, Security and Safety Department (ESSD).

During their virtual board meeting, the MCIAA Board agreed that all desks, booths and alleyways put up by LGUs inside the airport must be removed immediately. 

The resolution was proposed by Governor Gwendolyn Garcia who is a member of the Board.

The Board agreed that LGUs can exercise their authority in their respective jurisdictions but not overextend it inside the airport because MCIAA is an independent body altogether.

Napoli's memorandum directed GMCAC to “immediately remove the desks, signage, and other related paraphernalia utilized by the LGU representatives implementing their respective community quarantine rules and regulations at the airport” by virtue of the authority vested by the airport charter, Republic Act 6958, in compliance with the MCIAA Board’s instruction, and consistent with pertinent issuances of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

“Cleared na ang area of the said desks and in fact, tanan ni nga LGU kay gawas sa Cebu Province, duna man to’y desks for the Cities of Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Cebu. Atong gipa-remove adtong February 5, pagka alas dos sa hapon human sa meeting sa MCIAA Board of Directors basi sa nasabutan,” Atty. Napuli said.

The ESSD is also directed to revoke the Restricted Area Badge and access pass issued to all LGU personnel manning these desks. 

Earlier, Gov. Garcia found out that some individuals who are members of Cebu City's EOC were found to have stopped Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) and other persons traveling to the Province of Cebu by asking them for a Letter of Acceptance from the Provincial Governor. 

They even represented that it was upon the Governor’s orders which Garcia has disputed.

Such acts "are material representations committed by the aforementioned individuals that usurp the authority of the Governor," according to a letter from the governor to MCIAA.

Garcia emphasized that requiring additional documents such as a Letter of Coordination from the governor or from the LGU of destination is never stated in any of the guidelines of the IATF-EID citing of an updated IATF issuance on December 14, 2020.

The governor also questioned by which mandate does the creation of the City's EOC comes from saying she finds the creation “nebulous.” 

On August 24, 2020, MCIA and GMR Megawide received a letter that mentioned of the “required Letter of Coordination from the Barangay of Residence in the City of Cebu for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) traveling to the City of Cebu from Metro Manila.”

The letter was signed by Joel C. Garganera, deputy chief implementor of the IATF-EID and head of the EOC in Cebu City. 

Atty. Napuli apologized to the governor and to the people of Cebu Province who have undergone unnecessary burden. 

“We will be reviewing procedures and protocols if these are within the legal bounds and consistent with our intention to be the friendliest airport,” Napuli said.

“Thank you sa atong governor for taking up the matter immediately. We will do better and make sure the incident will never happen again,” he assured. (Eleanor Valeros)