The Joint Task Force COVID Shield will be issuing a new travel document to further ease the travel restrictions amid the decision of some local government units (LGUs) to maintain strict travel protocols due to health safety concerns in their areas.
Last week, the Inter Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) lifted the travel restrictions in a bid to spur more economic activities. More industries were allowed to operate and more people were also allowed to go out.
While some LGUs lifted travel restrictions, others decided to maintain a status quo and still require a Travel Authority before those classified as non-APOR (Authorized Persons Outside Residence) that include locally stranded individuals (LSIs) are allowed entry in their areas.
This would cause problems because, while their destination no longer requires a Travel Authority, travelers may still be barred from passing through a city that has kept stricter travel restrictions.
To resolve potential issues, Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVD Shield, said they will be issuing what he calls a Travel Pass-through Permit (or TPP), which will serve as a passage document for travelers, particularly those who are non-APORs and LSIs.
“Unlike [a] Travel Authority, there is no requirement in getting a TPP. This document will be presented to policemen manning the Quarantine Control Points, or border control checkpoints, to allow [bearers] to pass the travel restrictions being implemented in LGUs with Restricted status,” said Eleazar.
Restricted, Unrestricted LGUs
Based on the JTF COVID Shield classification, “Restricted” LGUs are cities, municipalities, or provinces that decided to still require non-APORs and LSIs to produce a Travel Authority.
A Medical Clearance Certificate from the City or Municipal Health Office is one of the two major requirements for the issuance of a Travel Authority.
The other requirement is prior coordination between the LGU of origin and the destination LGU. The LGU-destination may immediately approve or delay the go-signal for entry of the applicant, depending on the situation in their areas.
LGUs classified as “Unrestricted” are cities, municipalities, or provinces that decided to open their borders to all kinds of travelers in a bid to revive their local economies, which have severely been affected by the pandemic.
Eleazar also stressed that PNP units of LGUs under Unrestricted Travel Policy should not deny entry or passage of travelers, even without a Travel Authority or TPP.
He added that travel documents are no longer required from travelers, either APOR or non-APOR, if the LGU destination and the LGUs where they would pass through have Unrestricted Travel Policy.
The TPP and Travel Authority, according to Eleazar, are applicable in areas under a general community quarantine (GCQ) and a modified GCQ or MGCQ.
He, however, said that the TPP does not apply in areas under an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). and modified ECQ or MECQ.
Where to Get TPPs
TPPs could be secured in any police station across the country. There is no need to present any document and there is no need for prior coordination between the LGU of origin and the LGU of destination.
Eleazar said PNP chief General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan already tasked police commanders to ensure that TPP would immediately be available upon request.
But police commanders are required to maintain a record of those who were issued with TPPs for future reference.
“In order to ensure hassle-free travel, non-APORs should secure a TPP before their travel because they might be barred from passing through an LGU or LGUs with Restricted Travel Policy. The TPP will spare them from this kind of scenario,” said Eleazar.
For people included in the APOR list and whose travels are work-related or health and family emergencies, Eleazar said that valid identification cards, Certificate of Employment and proof that the travel is an emergency situation would do.
While travel documents were already lifted in Unrestricted LGUs, Eleazar said the LGUs are still given the discretion to implement health safety protocols for the arriving travelers in their respective areas.
These include triage and quarantine procedures.
Eleazar then appealed to the public to take the initiative to know existing travel protocols of the LGUs before travelling to avoid any travel restriction-related inconvenience.