Interior department confirms new IATF travel protocols

The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has confirmed that a Travel Authority (issued by the Philippine National Police [PNP]) and a corresponding medical certificate are NO longer required when traveling.

This is after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the harmonized national travel protocols for land, air, and sea recommended by the DILG last weekend.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson, Jonathan Malaya, said that the IATF-EID issued Resolution No. 101 on Friday, approving the streamlined travel protocols crafted by the DILG in coordination with the PNP, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.

The interior department added that testing for COVID-19 is no longer mandatory for all domestic travel unless the destination Local Government Unit (LGU) requires testing prior to travel. The resolution also says, should the LGU require such, the COVID-19 testing shall be limited only to the Reverse-Transcription - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test.

“If the LGU of destination requires a test, it shall only require a Reverse-Transcription - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test and no other. Meaning, LGUs cannot require Antigen tests or rapid tests as test requirements prior to travel,” said Usec. Malaya.

Additionally, under the new protocols approved by the IATF, no traveler shall be required to undergo facility-based quarantine unless they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival at the LGU of destination.

“Therefore, the health assessment of passengers or travelers supervised by medical professionals shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination.

He said all LGUs, regardless if they require RT-PCR tests or not, shall conduct clinical and exposure assessments at all points of entry and exit to ensure that only asymptomatic, non-close contact individuals are allowed to travel or move from one LGU to another.

Malaya said with the travel regulations harmonized, minimum public health standards which include physical distancing, hand hygiene, cough etiquette, wearing of face masks and face shields, among others, shall be strictly implemented by the PNP and local authorities.