IATF softens travel protocols across PH

IATF softens travel protocols across PH

DAVAO CITY – The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Friday, February 26, approved the uniform travel protocols for all local government units (LGUs).

The IATF Resolution No. 101, says that travelers shall no longer be required to undergo COVID-19 testing except if the local government unit (LGU) of destination will make testing as a requirement prior to travel. 

The resolution also provides that testing will be limited to RT-PCR test. In addition, travelers shall no longer undergo quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination. 

Strict implementation of the minimum public health standards, such as physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, and wearing of face masks and face shields across all settings is also a must among travelers.

Clinical and exposure assessment shall be strictly implemented in all ports of entry and exit while health assessment of passengers, supervised by medical doctors, shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination.

Travelers need not worry now about documentary requirements since the resolution says travel authority issued by the Joint Task Force COVID Shield and health certificates shall no longer be required. 

Authorized persons outside of residence (APORS) from national government agencies and their attached agencies, on the other hand, must provide their identification card, travel order, and travel itinerary.  

They must likewise pass symptom-screening at the ports of entry and exit.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) crafted these uniform travel protocols for land, air and sea, in close coordination with the 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. 

Meanwhile, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST)’s Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System will now be institutionalized as the one-stop-shop application/ communication for travelers. 

The StaySafe.ph System will be used as the primary contact tracing system though other contact tracing applications, like Traze App, must be integrated with the StaySafe.ph System.  

All ports and terminals are mandated to establish enough

quarantine or isolation facilities.  

Further, all ports and terminals are required also to observe the referral system wherein symptomatic travelers shall be transferred to quarantine / isolation facilities so The Bureau of Quarantine for airports, or local health officials for LGUs, to take over.

 In Metro Manila, all buses bound for the provinces shall be required to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange as the central hub for transportation. 

LGUs are given the prerogative to 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.

The IATF in said resolution also mandates directly-concerned government agencies to make sure the protocols are implemented smoothly. These agencies include: DILG, Department of Health (DOH), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Transportation (DOTr), DOST and the Philippine National Police (PNP), and LGUs.