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Local officials wary of easing protocols

BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III

Local officials of the country would like to retain the submission of the Reverse Transcription polymerase chain reaction test before allowing travelers to enter their localities, Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said.

This was in relation to the Executive Order 101 issued by the National Inter-Agency Task Force on Immerging Infectious Disease easing the requirements on travelers, Leonardia, who is also the President of the League of Cities of  the Philippines, said.

In a recent meeting of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines presided over by its President, Quirino Governor Dakila Carlos Cua, local leaders emphasized that all travelers should all be treated  the same, regardless of whether they are locally stranded individuals, foreign workers, tourists or authorized persons outside residence, he said.

Leonardia also said that he cited the experience of Bacolod last year where cases of coronavirus 2019 surged following the arrivals, adding that, the city does not want this to happen again by allowing people from other areas, who are potential carriers to come  here and spread the virus as,  “We are already on our way to recovery.”

In Western Visayas, the Regional IATF issued joint resolution number 004 urging local government units to fully implement the provisions of EO 101 on the uniform protocols for land, air and sea travel effective yesterday.

Christian Naganay, RIATF secretariat head, said the Department of Interior and Local Government shall cease performing coordination efforts, and instead, continually monitor the arrival of LSIs in their respective areas.

Naganay said the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Coastguard, Armed Forces of the Philippines-Aviation Security Command shall commence their establishment of help desks in various ports of entries in the provinces.

He said that highly urbanized cities shall also commence direct coordination on the arrival of travelers not exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.

Naganay added that travel will not be permitted to travelers without the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage Travel and mobility management system (S-PaSS) and the StaySafe.ph.

S-PaSS is a one-stop-shop app developed by the Department of Science and Technology in Region 6 which is a QR-coded travel management system primarily intended to make a hassle-free journey for LSIs, returning overseas Filipinos, emergency travelers, and other travelers during this pandemic.

The app is  meant to benefit, not only the travelers, but also the authorities in monitoring the movement of people in different locations to prevent the spread of Covid-19.*

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