By Dolly Yasa
BACOLOD City – Mayor Evelio Leonardia on Sunday lifted the negative RT-PCR test result as a requirement for inbound travelers from within Western Visayas and Negros Oriental.
The mayor on Sunday issued Executive Order No. 3, amending Section 1 of EO No. 1, Series of 2022 and Paragraph 1, Section 2 of EO No. 2, Series of 2022.
The amendment set aside the requirement of negative RT-PCR test rest result on intrazonal/interzonal travel to Bacolod City by any person coming from any LGU within Region 6 and Negros Oriental while Bacolod City strictly maintains its border control/ deterrent measures against COVID-19 and its variants’ transmissions.
The EO also simplified the requirements to the vaccination card for those who had been fully vaccinated and/or have received a booster dose.
For those who remain unvaccinated or have received only the first dose of a 2-dose vaccine series, they shall present at their ports of origin and destination a negative result under Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) certified by the Department of Health-accredited laboratory that administered the RAT within 24 hours before boarding at their port of origin.
They must pass a symptom screening at the port/s of entry upon arrival in Bacolod City and they must strictly comply with existing minimum public health standards.
The EO also said that effective immediately and until further advice, all government officials/public sector personnel on official business shall be allowed unimpeded travel into Bacolod City from any area regardless of the Alert Level status.
But they must comply with the vaccination mandate under National IATF Resolution No. 148-B, Series of 2021, dated November 11, 2021, with the following pre-requisites in their entry to Bacolod City:
-presentation of a valid ID issued by their respective government agency;
-presentation of their Vaccination Card for those who had been fully vaccinated;
-for those who remain unvaccinated or have received only the first dose of a 2-dose vaccine series, they shall present at their ports of origin and destination a negative result under Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) certified by the DOH-accredited laboratory that administered the RAT within 24 hours before boarding at their port of origin;
-presentation of an original/certified true copy of their travel order/authority issued by the head of their agency or by his/her authorized superior. In lieu of the travel order/authority, a certification from any head of office/agency that such officials/employees are assigned/appointed/designated to report in a particular public office in Bacolod City may also suffice requirements including that they must pass a symptom screening at the airport or seaport upon arrival and they must strictly comply with existing minimum public health standards.
The City Government may refuse the entry of any person/individual entering the port/s of Bacolod City or its area of jurisdiction for reasons such as his/her failure to comply with the travel requirements provided in Section 1 and Section 2 hereof as well as those who exhibit any symptom/s of COVID-19 upon arrival and/or those who refuse to follow the established testing and quarantine protocols, for which the City government may invoke Section 4.3 of DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2021-035, dated March 24, 2021, or its police power as an autonomous LGU.
Likewise, those who present falsified/fake or tampered documents, such as the vaccination cards or laboratory certifications on RAT results, shall be denied entry and shall be liable for prosecution under the law.
The Local PNP was directed to cooperate with and assist the City Government in implementing the health and safety protocols embodied in this Executive Order, which may include the apprehension and prosecution of any person violating any provision of this Executive Order or those penalized under existing laws such as, but not limited to, falsification of document/s, use of fictitious name, and the like.
It also said that any previous Executive Order or any provisions thereof that are inconsistent herewith are deemed repealed, modified and/or amended accordingly.
However, periodic reviews will be made to determine whether these amended travel protocols for inbound travelers coming from LGUs or areas as specified herein will continue to be in force and effect or shall be modified/amended accordingly, as warranted by future circumstances.
Earlier, the business sector has requested to forego the RT-PCR requirement due to its adverse economic effects.