The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) today confirmed that the travel authority from the PNP and the medical certificate from the LGU health office are no longer required for travel after the IATF-MEID approved the harmonized national travel protocols for land, air, and sea recommended by the department.
DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) issued Resolution No. 101 on Friday approving the streamlined travel protocols crafted by the DILG in coordination with the Philippine National Police, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.
He said that the new protocols are applicable to all LGUs across the country and he enjoined all LGUs to comply with the new regulations issued by the IATF.
He also said that COVID-19 testing shall not be mandatory for domestic travelers except if the LGU of destination will require testing as a requirement prior to travel. “If the LGU of destination requires a test, it shall only require a Reverse-Transcription - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test and no other. Meaning, LGUs cannot require Antigen tests or rapid tests as test requirements prior to travel,” he said.
He advised all travelers to check with their LGU of destination before travelling to ensure a smooth trip.
Malaya also said that under the new protocols approved by the IATF, no traveler shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination. “Therefore, the health assessment of passengers or travelers supervised by medical professionals shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination,” he said.
He said that all LGUs, regardless if they require PCR tests or not, shall conduct clinical and exposure assessment at all points of entry and exit to ensure that only asymptomatic, non-close contact individuals are allowed to travel or move from one LGU to another.
Malaya emphasized that with the travel regulations harmonized, minimum public health standards which include physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wearing of face masks and face shields, among others, shall be strictly implemented by the PNP and local authorities.
Those Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APORs) from national government agencies and attached agencies shall provide their identification card, travel order, and travel itinerary, and must pass symptom-screening at ports of entry and exit pursuant to IATF Resolution No. 98-A issued on February 4, 2021.
“Pero kahit lumuwag ang travel protocols, paalala po sa travelers na pinapatupad pa rin ang minimum public health standards. Maging disiplinado pa rin po sa pagsunod sa physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette at pagsuot ng face masks at face shields. Disiplina muna para sa ligtas na biyahe,” he said.
For ports and terminals, on the other hand, all must have assigned sufficient quarantine facilities. A referral system must be in place wherein travelers who become symptomatic shall be transferred to quarantine or isolation facilities to enable the Bureau of Quarantine for airports, or local health officials in case of LGUs, to take over.
For the National Capital Region, all buses bound for provinces shall be required to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange as the central hub for transportation. No bus company or public transport shall be allowed to use their private terminals.
LGUs, at their option, may provide transportation for all travelers who are transiting from one LGU to another in cases of arrivals at air and seaports to their end-point destinations.
S-PaSS Travel Management System
In line with these developments, Malaya said that when it comes to communication technology services, the Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) shall be institutionalized as the one-stop-shop application or communication for travelers.
He said that a focal person from the province with respect to their municipalities and component cities, and from highly urbanized cities (HUCs) and independent component cities (ICCs) will be assigned.
“To complement the S-PaSS, we are also encouraging the public to install the mobile application StaySafe.ph. It shall be utilized as the primary contact tracing system,” Malaya said
“The work of contact tracers of the DILG field offices and LGUs is complemented by technology. I urge travelers and the public, in general, to use the StaySafe.ph app in their mobile phones as our way of contributing to beating COVID-19 so we may smoothly transition to a safe new normal,” Malaya said.