Planning a road trip? Here’s what you need to know about travel documents needed

Published November 4, 2020, 10:09 AM

by Aaron Recuenco 

  • If you are an APOR, bring a company ID or certificate of employment.
  • If a non-APOR, apply for Travel Authority from the local police station. The requirement is a Medical Clearance Certificate which you apply for at the city or town health center.
  • Get a Travel Pass Permit if you will pass cities or towns that are under a restricted policy on the way to your destination. There is no required document for this. You can get it at the local police station.
  • Remember that a city or town can opt to be under a restricted policy even if the province has been declared under an unrestricted policy. Best to check the status of your destination.

It’s time to plan for a road trip. With quarantine restrictions eased in many parts of the country, it’s now possible to go out of town, perhaps to the beach or a mountain cottage.

Before you even drive out of your garage, find out the travel documents that you may need to cross city or provincial borders. Or you might have to turn back, or even get into an argument with a checkpoint personnel.

(UNSPLASH / MANILA BULLETIN)

This is the reason why it pays to be informed of the kinds of documents that travelers should bring every time they would go out, according to Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield.

For the APOR

Eleazar’s first advise is for those who are included in the list of the Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR). “Always bring a valid company ID or a certificate of employment when crossing borders especially of two or more areas with different community quarantine status.

APORs fall under the following categories: medical frontliners, journalists, drivers and helpers of cargo vehicles that deliver food and other essential items and workers of companies or industries which are allowed to operate by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). But their travel, according to Eleazar, must be work-related.

Those who are not listed are classified as non-APORs. One of the people under this category are the Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) who were stranded in another city when the community quarantine was implemented. These are the people who have to secure different travel documents for them to pass the border control checkpoints, or the Quarantine Control Points (QCPs).

Travel Authority

For LSIs who need to travel to their hometowns, the JTF COVID Shield was mandated to issue a Travel Authority (TA) to non-APORs.

The issuing organization of the Travel Authority was first exclusive to the JTF COVID Shield but this was later delegated to the chiefs of police of cities and municipalities in order to make it easier for the applicant to secure one.

Eleazar said there are two requirements for a Travel Authority. The first is the Medical Clearance Certificate issued by the City or Municipal Health Office to ensure that the travelers are free of COVID-19.

Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield
(Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)

In applying for a Travel Authority, applicants have to personally go to the police station and fill out a form that includes the names of the travelers, date of the travel, destination, vehicle that would be used, and designated driver.

Each traveler is required to have a Medical Clearance Certificate which is given by the city or municipal health office.

After the form is submitted, the local police station would coordinate the travel with the Local Government Unit (LGU) through the local police to inform the receiving LGU of the arrival of the travelers.

Eleazar said the LGU will only approve the request depending on the prevailing COVID-19 situation in their areas. A delay could be caused by congested quarantine facilities or disinfection procedures of the receiving LGUs. This is in case a traveler needs to be isolated when reaching the destination.

A Travel Authority would only be approved after the receiving LGU sends its okay to the police station where the application was made.

The Travel Authority is applicable to air, sea and land travel and applicable to all types of community quarantine status.

What’s TPP?

Recently, another form of travel document was made available by the IATF-MEID to further ease the travel restrictions for domestic travel. It is called a Travel Pass Permit. It will allow a person to pass through a town or city with restricted travel protocols on his way to a destination.

You must remember that the LGUs have the power to implement their own quarantine rules, particularly on arriving travelers. They can either declare their town or city under restricted or unrestricted travel protocols.

“Unlike Travel Authority, there is no requirement for a TPP. This document will be presented to policemen manning the Quarantine Control Points, or border control checkpoints, to allow them to pass despite the travel restrictions being implemented in LGUs with restricted status,” said Eleazar.

Eleazar said the TPPs could be secured from police stations. There is no Medical Clearance Certificate required and no prior coordination with the receiving LGU is needed.

“Our Chief PNP, General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, has already instructed our police commanders to ensure that TPP would immediately be available upon request. But they should maintain a record for reference,” said Eleazar.

Most provinces are under restricted policy

As of November 3, only 14 of 81 provinces in the Philippines opted to implement an Unrestricted Policy on travel. They are the provinces of Bulacan, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, Quezon, Occidental Mindoro, Palawan, Camarines Sur, Negros Oriental, Biliran, Agusan del Norte and Maguindanao.

In this file photo taken on March 15, 2020, members of the police and the army randomly inspect vehicles at a checkpoint coming from North Luzon Expressway in Manila.
(Photo by Maria TAN / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

This means that a Travel Authority is still needed for most of your destinations.

But there are cases wherein a city within a province has its own Travel Protocol. While Pangasinan and Iloilo provinces are under Restricted Policy, Dagupan City and Iloilo City, however, are implementing an Unrestricted Policy.

The cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue are under Unrestricted Policy although the province of Cebu is under Restricted Policy.

Other cities under Unrestricted Travel Policy are Tacloban, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, General Santos and Butuan.

Since these Unrestricted highly-urbanized cities are located inside provinces with Restricted Travel Protocols, non-APORs heading to these areas must only secure a TPP.

The entire Metro Manila is also unrestricted.

Eleazar said there are also some municipalities inside restricted provinces which chose to be unrestricted. It is best then to check the status of the city or town you are going to.

Online Platform

On October 27, the JTF COVID Shield announced that it is working with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) to further develop an online platform where a traveler could secure both a Travel Authority and a TPP.

(DOST / MANILA BULLETIN)

It is called the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage, or S-PASS—a travel management system developed by Director Rowen Gelonga, of the DoST Region VI.

Eleazar said the S-PASS would also serve to inform the public of the travel protocols of various LGUs across the country. By clicking the area where the traveler wishes to go, the travel protocols would flash on the screen and would inform the visitor of the documents that need to be completed.

He said the S-PASS primarily intends to make a hassle-free journey for Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs), Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) Emergency Travelers (ETs), and other travelers during the pandemic.

 
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