IT Certification

PNP authority, med certificate no longer needed for travel

MANILA, Philippines — Travel authority from police and medical certificates from the place of origin will no longer be required under the streamlined travel protocols, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya yesterday said that under the harmonized national protocols, these two documents would no longer be required by any local government unit for land, air and sea travel.

Malaya said that COVID-19 testing will not be mandatory for domestic travelers, except when the LGU of destination requires it.

“If the LGU of destination requires a test, it shall only require a Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test and no other. Meaning, LGUs cannot require antigen tests or rapid tests as test requirements prior to travel,” he said in a statement.

The DILG official advised all travelers to check with their LGU of destination before making the trip for their convenience.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) last week approved the streamlined protocols crafted by the DILG in coordination with the police and LGU organizations in the country.

The new protocols also stated that travelers will no longer be required to undergo facility-based quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination.

However, clinical or exposure assessment of travelers will be made mandatory at the entry port or terminal or at the exit point of the destination to ensure that asymptomatic or non-close contact individuals will be allowed to travel.

The DILG said that even with harmonized regulations, minimum health standards should still be followed including physical distancing, wearing of face masks and shields, and others.

“Let’s be disciplined in following physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette and wearing of face masks and face shields. Observe discipline for a safe trip,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

Malaya said that aside from the app, they will also institutionalize the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) Travel Management System of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) as a one-stop shop application for travelers.

The IATF has adopted the S-PaSS travel management system developed by the DOST to be a travel monitoring system as the country prepares for the lowering of community quarantine and a return to “business as usual.”

This innovative system has a local mobility feature that replaces the use of pen-and-paper or logbooks. It can also be used to document and monitor border crossings in LGUs. The travelers will be monitored by scanning their unique S-PaSS QR code every time they visit an establishment and offices. The system will then automatically record information on its eLogBook for recording and monitoring purposes.

Together with the use of S-PaSS, authorities shall still continue to strictly implement the minimum public health standards across all settings.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism urged yesterday all DOT-accredited hotels and other accommodation establishments and tourist destinations in the country to apply for the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels Stamp to be globally recognized as a fun and “safe travels” facility and destination.

“With uniform travel protocols expected to stimulate domestic travel, the need for more establishments for leisure will arise. The DOT encourages all accommodation establishments not used as quarantine facilities and tourism destinations that have reopened to apply for the WTTC Safe Travels Stamp to be globally recognized as a fun and ‘Safe Travels’ facility and destination,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

The DOT opened yesterday the application for the WTTC.

The Safe Travels Stamp is the world’s first safety and hygiene stamp for travelers to recognize governments and businesses that have adopted global health standardized protocols, according to the agency.

“Aside from being promoted in the websites and social media platforms of the DOT and the Tourism Promotions Board, the recipients benefit from global exposure and the vast network of WTTC member organizations as well as brand awareness with the logos distinctly posted at the WTTC website,” it said.

The agency said applicants must be compliant with the DOT’s health and safety guidelines, adhere to the WTTC Safe Travels Terms and Conditions and submit the necessary documentary requirements. – Rainier Allan Ronda, Helen Flores

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