LGUs in Visayas, Mindanao can't impose flight restrictions, DILG says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 20)— The Interior Department on Friday reminded local officials in the regions that they are not allowed to cancel flights during the quarantine being implemented in Luzon.

"Wala sa authority ng LGU ang mag-cancel ng airport flights, particularly domestic flights, because that belongs to another government department," Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said during a media briefing.

[Translation: It is not within the local government's authority to cancel flights, especially domestic flights. That is the job of a different government department.]

Dozens of cities and municipalities in Visayas and Mindanao implemented land, air, and sea travel restrictions after Metro Manila was placed under community quarantine. Restrictions began as early as March 14 in some areas outside Metro Manila as authorities continued to report a rise in COVID-19 cases in the country. More local officials followed suit when an enhanced community quarantine in Luzon was announced.

Año said the LGUs must coordinate and wait for the go-signal of the DILG before implementing a travel ban to avoid leaving the public confused and stranded.

"Ang Luzon ay (Luzon is) under enhanced community quarantine o (or) similar to total lockdown. Visayas and Mindanao are not. They have the option to impose general community quarantine. Before they can do enhanced community quarantine, it has to be [coordinated] with DILG and DOH," he said.