By Francis Allan L. Angelo
Travelers from other parts of the country who are bound for Iloilo City will undergo mandatory swabbing for COVID-19 upon arrival.
The new rule is embodied in Executive Order No. 33-2021 which Mayor Jerry Treñas issued this week.
The COVID testing requirement takes effect on April 11 with the lifting of the moratorium on travelers from Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
Starting 12 a.m. of April 11, those entering the city must obtain a Travel Coordination Permit (TCP) through the S-PaSS Travel Management System. Those travelling within the region do not need to comply with the Travel Coordination Permit.
The S-PaSS is a travel management system for local travelers who are returning to or visiting different localities in time for the holidays, for vacation or for business.
It can facilitate local travel where the public can access information on travel restrictions implemented by different Local Government Units (LGU) due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The S-PaSS is not a contract tracing system like the StaySafe.ph which is a community-driven contact tracing, health condition reporting and social distancing system being adopted by LGUs and also approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF.
As a travel management system, the S-PaSS will facilitate a safe, swift, and smart coordination of travels to the destination LGUs. Travelers can check the travel restrictions of their destination through https://s-pass.ph.
Persons travelling to Iloilo City will be allowed to enter upon submission of a copy of requirements using the S-PaSS system and a copy of the Travel of Coordination Permit.
Upon arrival in Iloilo City, RT-PCR testing shall be conducted at the airport for air travellers and Jubilee Hall for sea travelers. They must observe strict self-quarantine while awaiting the result.
Iloilo City COVID-19 task force spokesperson Jeck Conlu said the swabbing will be mandatory even if the traveler has a negative RT-PCR test taken in their point of origin.
“We want to make sure that they are clear of the virus upon arrival. The consideration here is the incubation period of the virus. The test will be free of charge,” Conlu said.
As for Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR) staying in Iloilo for not more than 24 hours, they must secure a negative RT-PCR test result three days prior to the date of travel and submit copies of the requirements using the S-PaSS system and secure a copy of the Travel Coordination Permit prior to date of travel.
MASS GATHERING, WORK ARRANGEMENTS
EO 33 also stipulated rules on the prohibition of non-essential gatherings.
All mass and non-essential gatherings shall be prohibited effective 12:00 AM of April 7, 2021 unless lifted or modified.
Wakes and funeral services are limited to the immediate families of not more than 10 persons at a time.
Only 15 individuals will be accommodated or the immediate family members during weddings and baptisms.
The EO also encouraged all private and government establishments to adopt a 30% workforce capacity.
The EO was issued with the spike in cases in the NCR Plus area and in the city.