It looks like moving around in the Philippines is about to get a whole lot easier after the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) loosened travel restrictions put in place to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The IATF has issued Resolution No. 101, approving adjusted travel protocols submitted by the DILG. Moving forward, travel authorities issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and medical certificates from local government unit (LGU) health offices will no longer be required for domestic travel, whether by land, air, or sea.
COVID-19 testing is no longer mandatory for domestic travel as well unless the traveler’s destination LGU requires it. Facility-based quarantine is now required only if a traveler exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 upon arrival at his or her destination LGU.
Province-bound buses from Metro Manila are also being instructed to use the Integrated Terminal Exchange as a central transport hub, as the use of private terminals is not permitted under the new guidelines.
The DILG and the IATF are encouraging all LGUs to comply with the updated travel regulations. Travelers are likewise being asked by the agencies to install the StaySafe.ph contact-tracing app on their smartphones to complement the Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage travel management system (S-PaSS).
Despite the loosening of restrictions, the DILF and the IATF are reminding everyone to continue being cautious during the COVID-19 pandemic. “[Kahit] lumuwag ang travel protocols, paalala po sa travelers na pinapatupad pa rin ang minimum public health standards,” DILG spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.
“Maging disiplinado pa rin po sa pagsunod sa physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette at pagsuot ng face masks at face shields. Disiplina muna para sa ligtas na biyahe.”
We’re all eager to hop in our cars and drive out to the beach for the summer, but is this the right move? Let us know what you think in the comments.