‘Test before travel’ policy in Davao City set

Published March 21, 2021, 3:59 PM

by Antonio Colina IV

DAVAO CITY – The city government of Davao will implement a “test before travel” policy for all inbound passengers starting March 23 in light of the alarming resurgence of COVID-19 and the increasing number of infections caused by new variants in National Capital Region (NCR) and Cebu, City Tourism Office head Generose Tecson said.

Tecson said that arriving passengers will need to present a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result or the result of their saliva-based COVID-19 test administered by the Philippine Red Cross taken within 72 hours before flying to the Davao International Airport (DIA). Tecson is the concurrent head of the Airport Monitoring Team.

According to her, all inbound passengers must strictly comply with the test requirement before flying here because the city government would no longer offer a free swab test.

Before the city government suspended the RT-PCR requirement last Jan. 13, air passengers were given the option to undertake the swab test upon arrival at the airport for free.

She said the same requirement will also be imposed on land travelers from Luzon and Visayas. Tecson has yet to respond on  how local authorities would vet individuals entering the borders of this city.

City Health Office (CHO) head Dr. Ashley Lopez said in a text message Sunday that the compliance of the passengers must be scrutinized from their port of origin.

 For as long as passengers are able to present a negative RT-PCR test result, he said the 14-day mandatory home quarantine will not be made mandatory but only “encouraged.”

 He added that the passengers should have a Safe Davao QR (DQR) code upon arrival.

“The mayor will release a new executive order for all of these. Let’s just monitor,” Lopez said.

 In advisory dated March 19, Philippine Airlines (PAL) said any person, upon entering the city, who does not present a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result or presents an invalid RT-PCR COVID-19 test result will be required to undergo the test “at the place of entry and will be required to remain at a government sanctioned facility until the release and or issuance of a negative test results at their expense.”