A number of Local Government Units (LGUs) are opposing the national government’s decision to remove the travel requirements, the League of Provinces of the Philippines (LPP) said on Thursday, March 4.
But LPP president and Marinduque Governor Presbitero Velasco Jr. said that LGUs are supportive of requiring travellers to present a negative result of the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) in order to effectively protect their communities from the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). He said they also requested to also allow antigen tests, which is faster and more affordable for most of the LGUs.
Under the recent Resolution No. 101 of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), travellers do not need to undergo testing unless required by the LGU prior to travel.
On March 3, DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III pointed out that as a general rule travel authority issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and local health certificates are no longer required for cross border travel effective March 1. He added that travellers will no longer be subjected to quarantine unless they exhibit symptoms at the destination upon arrival.
But Velasco said the remove of the travel requirements would make LGUs defenseless against the COVID-19.
“Ang nire-require lang po ngayon ay ‘yung clinical and exposure assessment na baka hindi supisyente kung yung gagamitin lang ay ‘yung temperature gun (What is now required are clinical and exposure assessment that might be insufficient if temperature guns are only used), Velasco said.
Velasco said the LPP prefers to have a thorough physical examination in the screening of travellers to prevent the spike of COVID-19 as not all visitors of certain localities are providing factual health data.