Cebu lawyers take quarantine protocols battle to court in support of local policy vs national COVID task force

TWO lawyers from Cebu on Monday filed a petition before the regional court questioning the validity of the national coronavirus task force’s quarantine protocols over that of the Cebu provincial government.

The special civil action for declaratory relief was filed by lawyers Clarence Paul Oaminal and Valentino Bacalso, Jr. in their capacity as taxpayers, according to their legal representative Benjamin Cabrido.

A declaratory relief, as defined by the Supreme Court in a 2010 decision, is “as an action by any person interested in a deed, will, contract or other written instrument, executive order or resolution, to determine any question of construction or validity arising from the instrument… and for a declaration of his rights and duties thereunder.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte last week ordered the provincial government to abide by the task force’s quarantine rules for Filipinos returning from overseas.

Under the national policy, all arriving international passengers must undergo a 10-day quarantine at designated facilities and swabbing on the seventh day from arrival.   

On the other hand, an executive order from Cebu Governor Gwendolyn F. Garcia and an ordinance passed by the provincial board requires returning Filipinos and other residents to stay in a hotel for a period of two to three days after being swabbed for coronavirus testing upon arrival. Those with a negative result can go home where they will continue to be on quarantine for four days, then undergo another test to be handled by their local government.    

The provincial board was also set to pass a resolution calling on members of the task force to a meeting in Cebu to further discuss the different policies. — MSJ 

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