Travel pass not required for allowed workers coming from the provinces -- Eleazar

Workers of permitted industries in Metro Manila coming from the provinces are not required to get travel authority passes, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar clarified on Wednesday.

In this photo taken on September 8, 2020, passengers wearing face shields ride a bus in Manila. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANIA BULLETIN)

In an interview with DZMM, Eleazar said the 12 modified provincial bus routes to Metro Manila that were opened on Wednesday, Sept. 30, were specifically designed for employees who are living in provinces but are working in Metro Manila.

“Kung ikaw ay worker of permitted industries, hindi ninyo na po kailangan ng travel authority (If you are a worker of permitted industries, you don’t need travel authority),” Eleazar said.

Workers only need to present their ID and certificate of employment, according to Eleazar.

Eleazer said that workers of permitted industries “can cross borders.”

The JTF COVID Shield chief said non-authorized persons outside residence or those who are going on non-work travel are the ones who need to secure a travel authority or pass.

“If yung travel nila di related sa trabaho, kailangan kumuha ng medical clearance certificate at merong coordination na gagawin doon sa pupuntahan so ang nagpa-process po nito ay ang ating police stations kung saan ka galing (If your travel is not related to work, you need to get a medical clearance certificate and there should be coordination between the authorities from your location to authorities in your point of destination),” Eleazar explained.

Eleazar said the Philippine National Police has already deployed its personnel to bus stations to monitor if drivers, operators, and passengers are complying with the health and safety requirements of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Eleazar said it has been the policy of the government to relaxed the travel requirements for medical frontliners and workers of permitted industries since their services are needed in the time of the pandemic.

“They are considered as the backbone of our economy and our response against the spread of the COVID-19 in these trying times. Their travel must be less restricted since they play a key role in the effective response of the government on COVID-19),” said Eleazar.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, vice chairman of the NTF on COVID-19, had earlier said that the welfare of medical frontliners and workers of permitted industries have always been a priority in the crafting and implementation of policies that would affect them, especially on their travel to work and back home.

“We would like to remind the bus companies that all medical frontliners and workers of industries that were given clearance to operate during community quarantine only have to present valid identification cards or Certificate of Employment proving that their travel is work-related,” said Eleazar.

PNP chief Police Gen. Camilo Cascolan ordered police commanders to intensify police visibility in bus terminals to ensure discipline and order that includes observance of the minimum health safety standard protocol.

Eleazar said that they have already coordinated with the PNP for policemen that would be deployed in bus terminals to assist medical frontliners and workers of permitted industries who may face problems with regard to their travel to and from Metro Manila.

“The resumption of operations of provincial buses was allowed purposely to make the transportation of medical frontliners and workers of permitted industries, who are living outside Metro Manila but are working in the NCR, convenient and easier. They do not deserve to experience difficulties if their travel is work-related,” said Eleazar. (with a report from Aaron Recuenco)