THE Cebu Provincial Government has required its residents working in Cebu City to secure travel passes by downloading WeTrace, a local smartphone application designed for contact tracing.
No travel pass, no entry to Cebu City—the commercial hub in Central Visayas.
Many of the people in the city's workforce come from other local government units (LGUs) in Cebu Province.
This latest move signals that the Capitol is being cautious as it aims to contribute to reinvigorating Cebu's economy battered by the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Allowing its constituents to work again in Cebu City, the LGU in Central Visayas hardest hit by the global health crisis, could possibly expose them to Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 and further spread the respiratory illness in the countryside.
The Cebu Province residents from modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) working in permitted establishments in Cebu City and vice versa are required to present the work travel pass (WTP) through WeTrace App, which can be downloaded at GooglePlay for free.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Felix Taguiam welcomed the Capitol's move, saying it is promoting a safe workplace for businesses.
"It's a good way to keep everyone traced for contact tracing. This will assure everyone's safety wherever we go. It's the only way to go, through technology," he said.
Last April, Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia issued Executive Order (EO) 5-P requiring all Cebu Province residents to download the app "in order to provide local government officials with an accurate system of tracing and monitoring of persons" showing Covid-19 symptoms.
Garcia's EO 20-C, issued on Aug. 5, 2020, states: "Persons residing in MGCQ areas but who are working in the City of Cebu are strongly encouraged to reside in said city."
Under MGCQ are 42 municipalities and five component cities. The LGUs under the provincial government's jurisdiction on the stricter general community quarantine (GCQ) are Talisay City, and Minglanilla and Consolacion towns.
Cebu City, as well as the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, is on GCQ status.
To recall, Garcia said she was "considering Cebu City as the epicenter" of the new coronavirus in Cebu when there were still few cases last March.
As of 5 p.m., Aug. 6, 2020, the Department of Health 7 reported a total of 9,162 Covid-19 cases in Cebu City with 2,571 active cases, 6,054 recoveries and 537 deaths. Cebu Province had a total 1,971 cases with 719 active cases, 1,137 recoveries and 115 deaths.
According to EO 20-C, a medical certificate, company identification (ID) card, updated certificate of employment and ID picture are required for the work travel pass (WTP) online
LGUs may require applicants to present additional documents to verify the authenticity of their representations, according to the order.
In approving WTPs, LGUs must have knowledge of the permitted businesses in MGCQ and GCQ areas.
After approving a WTP, the LGU must send a "point-to-point WTP to the mobile phone of the worker" through WeTrace.
The Capitol provides the WTP template to LGUs.
The WTP issued to a worker must show this information: worker's name and worker's photo, worker's address and company name, point of origin and point of destination, the local chief executive's signature, QR code and control number.
It is the provincial government that assigns the control numbers.
The workers with WTPs cannot go anywhere else after their duties are over. Their route is from their point of origin to their point of destination (workplace) and vice versa.
To monitor the workers, their bluetooth and location must be on at all times. If these are turned off, the WeTrace app is useless.
"A worker who deviates from his or her regular route shall warrant the revocation of their WTP," according to EO 20-C.
However, before the WTP is revoked, the LGU must conduct an investigation on the violator.
The Capitol urged businesses to "provide their employees authorized shuttle services for travel to and from their workplaces," EO 20-C states.
The law enforcers at border control points are also urged to check the WTPs of workers going into Cebu Province. / KAL FROM ANV WITH JOB