Bacolod, Negros Occidental clash on S-Pass policy

Published November 24, 2021, 2:11 PM

by Glazyl Masculino

BACOLOD CITY — The city government here and the provincial government of Negros Occidental are debating on the S-Pass policy requirement among Bacolod-bound travelers entering the province via Bacolod-Silay Airport in Silay City.

This, after the two local government units (LGUs) have different policies on the S-Pass system.

Mayor Evelio Leonardia has earlier issued an executive order (EO) stating that fully-vaccinated city-bound travelers via air, land, or sea are no longer required to present an S-Pass, as the city is under Alert Level 2 from November 15 to 30, 2021.

However, Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz II, said the non-requirement of S-Pass is illegal.

Diaz maintained that Bacolod-bound passengers entering the province via Bacolod-Silay Airport are required the mandatory presentation of an S-Pass, considering that the S-Pass is the mode wherein travelers upload all of their documentation for proper recording like the vaccination cards and negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, as stated in Resolution 101 of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

Diaz also noted that under the IATF resolution, if travelers are expected to commute among the LGUs, they cannot disregard the protocols of the LGUs they are passing through.

Thus, Bacolod-bound passengers will still be required to submit their documents via the S-Pass system as the airport is under the jurisdiction of the provincial government, Diaz said.

For her part, Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Executive Director Em Ang, said the executive order would not have been concurred by Regional IATF chief and Regional Director Jovian Ingeniero if it were not in conformity with the NIATF policy.

The requirement of the S-Pass in the interzonal and intrazonal travel is not covered in the guidelines, she pointed out.

With such scenario, Ang said that it clearly caused inconvenience to travelers.

The city government already apologized to travelers for such confusion and inconvenience brought about by the non-agreement of both LGUs.

Meanwhile, Councilor Israel Salanga, chair of the Action Team on Returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), in a Facebook post on Wednesday, suggested that Bacolod-bound passengers should just follow the S-Pass policy of the province so as not to hamper their travel, while waiting for the legal advice from the city.