RT-PCR no longer required for Iloilo-bound APORs

Airline passengers undergo screening at the Iloilo airport in Cabatuan town on August 6, 2021. (6th AVSEU photo)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test results will no longer be required for Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) travelling to Iloilo province under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), which became effective Friday.

Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. signed Executive Order No. 305 on Thursday implementing the “less restrictive” CQ regime pronounced by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) Thursday night.

Defensor also subsequently issued EO No. 306 on Friday, suspending the travel of non-residents to the province until August 15.

Under Section 3(4) EO No. 305, APORs only need to undergo testing and quarantine upon entering the province and will be free to go to their destination upon negative result.

Along with their travel order and itinerary (for government APORs) or company or office travel order (for non-government APORs), they must show any of the following IDs:

-Voter’s ID Card issued by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC);

-Philippine Passport;

-Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID) Card;

-Postal ID Card;

-Tax Identification Number (TIN) Card;

-IATF IDs issued by the regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over permitted establishments or persons;

-Valid IDs or other pertinent documentation issued by accredited organizations or establishments; or

-Any government issued ID showing proof of residence.

APORs also have to coordinate with their local government unit (LGU) of destination on their arrival and adhere to local health protocols.

Persons who are considered APORs include:

– Health and emergency frontline services personnel;

– Government officials and government frontline personnel;

– Duly authorized humanitarian assistance actors (HAAs);

– Persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, and those leaving their residence to be vaccinated (with proof of schedule) and persons availing Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) consular services (with confirmed appointment);

– Persons going to and from the airport including Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) carrying Overseas Employment Certificates;

– Any person whose purpose of travel to the zone of destination is for a work, business, or activity that is also permitted in areas under ECQ; and

– Public utility vehicle operators.

Returning residents, however, will still be required to present a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours or 3 days from their travel to the province.

The EO also detailed public transport regulations in addition to regulations by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Apart from the driver, only 1 passenger is allowed for pedicabs, tricycles, and motorcycles.

Eating and drinking of beverages and unnecessary verbal communication between passengers or via mobile devices is also prohibited in Public Utility Vehicles.



EO No. 305 also provided for establishments which are allowed at full capacity and at 50 percent capacity, as well as those which are prohibited.

-Public and private hospitals;

-Health, emergency, and frontline services, including those provided by dialysis centers, chemotherapy centers, HMOs, health insurance providers, disaster risk reduction and management officers, public safety officers, and other similar services;

-Manufacturers of medicines and vitamins, medical supplies, devices, and equipment, including suppliers of inputs, packaging, and distribution;

-Industries involved in agriculture (crops, fruits, vegetables, livestock, and poultry), forestry, fishery, and such other components of the food value chain and their workers, including farmers and fisherfolks;

-Logistics service providers (delivery and courier services, cargo handling, warehousing, trucking, freight forwarding, shipping, port and terminal operators and contractors and ancillary services i.e. drivers, conductors, terminal workers);

-Employees/workers in essential and priority construction projects, whether public or private, in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), including contractors, subcontractors and consultants of the DOTr for the construction of Build Build Build flagship infrastructure projects;

-Manufacturing related to food and other essential goods, such as but not limited to, soap and detergents, diapers, personal hygiene products, toilet paper, wet wipes and disinfectants;

-Companies that manufacture, distribute, and/or supply equipment or products necessary to perform construction or maintenance works, such as cement, steel and spare parts;

-Essential retail trade and service establishments such as public markets, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies or drug stores, hardware, office supplies, bicycle shops, laundry shops, and water-refilling stations;

-Food preparation establishments such as kiosks, commissaries, restaurants, and eateries, but limited to take-out and delivery only;

-Public and private financial service providers involved in the distribution of government grants and amelioration subsidies;

-Business process outsourcing establishments (BPOs), and exportoriented businesses, including mining and quarrying activities;

– Public transport providers and operators;

– Media establishments and their total permanent staff complement, inclusive of reporters and other field employees;

– Dental, rehabilitation, optometry, and other medical clinics for the treatment of illness or injuries;

-Veterinary clinics;

-Banks, money transfer services, including pawnshops, only insofar as performing money transfer functions, microfinance institutions, and credit cooperatives, including their armored vehicle services;

-Capital markets, including but not limited to the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Securities and Exchange Commission, Philippine Stock Exchange, Philippine Dealing and Exchange Corporation, Philippine Securities Settlement Corporation, and Philippine Depository and Trust Corporation;

– Water supply and janitorial/sanitation services and facilities, including waste disposal services, as well as, property management and building utility services;

-The energy sector (oil, gas, and power companies), their third-party contractors and service providers, including employees involved in electric transmission and distribution, electric power plant and line maintenance, electricity market and retail suppliers, as well as those involved in the exploration, operations, trading and delivery of coal, oil, crude or petroleum and by-products (gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas or LPG, jet oil, kerosene, lubricants), including gasoline stations, refineries, LPG stations and depots for any kind of fuel used to produce power;

-Telecommunications companies, internet service providers, cable television providers, including those who perform indirect services such as the technical, sales, and other support personnel, as well as the employees of their third-party contractors doing sales, installation, maintenance, and repair works;

-Airline and aircraft maintenance, pilots and crew, and employees of aviation schools for purposes of the pilot’s recurrent training for flight proficiency and type rating using simulator facilities, ship captains and crew, including shipyard operations and repair;

-Funeral and embalming services;

-Security personnel licensed by the PNP – Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies;

-Printing establishments authorized by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and those contracted by other government agencies;

-Establishments engaged in repair and maintenance of machinery and equipment, for households and essential permitted establishments;

-Establishments engaged in repair and maintenance of motorized and non-motorized vehicles, including the sale of spare parts;

-Leasing of real and personal properties;

-Employment activities that involve the recruitment and placement for permitted sectors;

-Teachers, professors and other staff for purposes of conducting online/offline, and flexible classes, completion of grades, and processing of student credentials, requirements and documents;

-Lawyers only when required to provide on-site legal representation necessary to protect rights of persons, whether natural or juridical;

-All other establishments, to the extent necessary for the buying and selling of consumer goods or services via the internet; and

­­-Accommodation establishments including hotels, beach resorts, inland resorts, water parks, amusement parks, ecological parks, tourist inns, motels, pension houses, apartment hotels, private homes used for homestay, ecolodges, serviced apartments, condotels, and bed and breakfast establishments (only board and lodging services for COVID-19).

The following establishments, meanwhile, are not allowed:

-Entertainment venues with live performers such as karaoke bars, bars, clubs, concert halls, theaters, and cinemas;

­­-Recreational venues such as internet cafes, billiard halls, amusement arcades, bowling alleys, and similar venues;

-Amusement parks or theme parks, fairs/peryas, kid amusement industries such as playgrounds, playroom, and kiddie rides;

-Outdoor sports courts or venues for contact sports, scrimmages, games, or activities, (individual outdoor exercises such as outdoor walks, jogging, running or biking, are allowed within the general area of the residence)

-Indoor sports courts or venues, fitness studios, gyms, spas or other indoor leisure centers or facilities and swimming pools;

-Casinos, horse racing, cockfighting and operation of cockpits, lottery and betting shops, and other gaming establishments except for the draws conducted by the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO);

­-Indoor visitor or tourist attractions, libraries, archives, museums, galleries, and cultural shows and exhibits;

-Outdoor tourist attractions, including recreation activities in public beaches, inland waters and other tourist spots;

-Venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions; and

-Personal care services which include barbershops, beauty parlors, medical aesthetic clinics, cosmetic or derma clinics, make-up salons, reflexology, aesthetics, wellness, and holistic centers, and other similar establishments, acupuncture and electrocautery establishments, and massage therapy including sports therapy establishments, and establishments providing tanning services, body piercings, tattooing, and similar services including home services.