Regional task force urges LGUS to enforce uniform travel rules

The Regional Interagency Task Force and Regional Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (RIATF/RTF) urged local government units (LGUs) in Western Visayas to implement IATF Resolution No. 101 which set uniform travel protocols for land, air, and sea.

The call is contained in Joint Resolution No. 4-2021 passed by the RIATF/RTF over the weekend.

IATF Resolution No. 101 was passed on February 26, 2021 to harmonize travel protocols with salient provisions on minimum public health standards, testing and quarantine, documentary requirements, information and communication technology solutions, and ports and terminals.

Under Resolution No. 101, travel authority and medical certificates are no longer required for travelers. The resolution also states that travelers are no longer required to undergo quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival to their destination. COVID-19 testing is also not mandatory, unless the concerned LGU makes it a requirement.

But the Western Visayas Joint Task Force (WVJTF) passed Resolution No. 3 Series of 2021 retaining status quo on the requirements of LGUs on the arrival of locally stranded individuals (LSIs), such as quarantine and testing rules “until the plan of action to cascade the systems is finalized.”

On March 9, 2021, the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Council (RDRRMC) agreed that the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), and the Aviation Security Demand (AVSECOM) shall establish help desks in various ports of entry to ensure that protocols are properly observed during the full implementation of IATF Resolution 101.

In a meeting on March 10, the WVJTF agreed to lift the status quo and coordination shall be directly lodged to provinces and highly-urbanized cities (HUCs) starting March 15.

On the same day, the LGUs will use the Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-Pass) Travel Management System of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and

The S-PaSS was primarily intended to make travel easier for LSIs, Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs), Emergency Travelers (ETs), and other travelers during the pandemic. The system is a convenient and safe way for travelers to apply for Travel Authority (TA) online without queuing before going to the police station where the QR Code can be used to view one’s TA, to register at designated monitoring locations, and track one’s travel history.

The System is the primary contact tracing system of the government.

To ensure the alignment of the national and local policies in addressing the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, the RIATF/RTF resolution said LGUs shall adopt the IATF Resolutions through the issuance of Executive Orders on mandatory health protocols.

The Department of Interior and Local Government shall also cease coordination efforts and continually conduct monitoring on the arrival of LSIs in their respective areas of jurisdiction.

For any concerns, DILG Field Offices shall coordinate with the RIATF to facilitate in addressing the issues that may arise.

The PNP, PCG, and AVSECOM shall commence their establishment of help desks in various ports of entry, and provinces and HUCs shall commence direct coordination on the arrival of travellers not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms in Western Visayas.

Travel will not be permitted to travelers without S-PASS and applications.

In Iloilo City, Mayor Jerry Treñas will only require a negative RT-PCR test result which should not be more than 3-days old before their arrival.

Iloilo province is also prepared to adopt the uniform travel rules.