RETURNING residents, tourists and non-authorized persons outside residence (Apor) who will enter Davao Region will now be required to secure a negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result, according to a joint resolution of the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (RIATF) and Regional Task Force Against Covid-19 (RTF).
In a joint RIATF-RTF-Davao Resolution 01 series of 2021 dated May 3 and posted in the Facebook page of the Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Davao de Oro, the body approved the uniform guidelines to regulate entry and exit in regional borders of the region to regulate movements "as an additional and preemptive measure against the surge of Covid-19 cases in the region."
The region-wide border control is a proactive measure wherein restrictions will be in place to slow down the surge of Covid-19 cases, including the further spread of the new variants in the region.
"Considering the surge of cases in other areas of the country, as an additional measure, it is essential to regulate non-essential movement of people into the region and reiterate the guidelines set forth the IATF [Interagency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease]," RIATF-RTF said in the resolution.
The joint regional body said having a uniform border control for all entry and exit points within the region is beneficial as it will provide "harmonious" implementation.
Section 3 of the resolution states that Apor, who are exempted to the mandatory RT-PCR, includes health and emergency frontline services and uniformed personnel; government officials and employees on official travel and official business; and duly authorized humanitarian assistance actors, especially those transporting medical supplies and laboratory specimens related to Covid-19 and other relief and humanitarian assistance.
Also considered Apor are persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, such as but not limited to attendance to burial of next of kin, watchers of medical patients, takers of board/licensure/eligibility exams, accompanying family/relative in transporting human remains, persons accompanying the elderly or those with frail conditions, and other similar instances.
In addition, persons going to and from the airport; anyone crossing zones for work or business permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home; and public utility vehicle operators are considered Apor.
Returning residents of the region that are non-Apor need to secure RT-PCR test with an accompanied identification card showing residence or any other proof of residence.
Essential travel of non-residents in the region, which includes access to essential goods and services, medical consultations, etc. will be allowed entry in the region provided that they can present any of the following: proof of appointment; medical prescription/referral; or any other document showing proof of essential transaction.
Provided further, essential travelers will only be allowed to stay for a maximum of 24 hours within the region unless transaction or service availed will require more than the maximum hour stay.
Aside from the RT-PCR test result, tourists that are non-residents of the region will be required to present resort booking confirmation, and StaySafe.PH application.
To prevent the proliferation of fake RT-PCR test and to determine its authenticity, test results must be submitted electronically by tourists immediately upon receipt of results to the management of the resort not earlier than 72 hours upon entry into the region. Resort management will submit it to the Department of Health (DOH) Operation Center for verification. DOH will endorse the valid test result to the Philippine National Police (PNP). Only those authenticated by DOH will be allowed entry.
For travelers merely passing through the region, they will be allowed to stay within the region within a specified time, which will be determined by PNP. The entry point shall coordinate with the exit point that the vehicle or traveler shall be expected to pass through within a specific time.
Movement of cargoes and goods shall be unhampered. But they must observe the following: personnel of delivery vehicles should only be up to five persons only; they must undergo usual symptom screening protocol at port of destination's entry; and strict social distancing must be observed.
Movements within the region will be governed by local issuance of respective local government units (LGUs).
In a forwarded message to the media, Department of the Interior and Local Government-Davao Region Director and RIATF Chair Alex Roldan said the date of the resolution's effectivity will depend on the executive orders that the mayors of different LGUs will issue.
“The LGUs are going to implement it, therefore ang exec order ng mayors ang mag-set ng date. (the mayors will set the date of implementation through their issued executive order.) The IATF is just there to set the guidelines. Ang (The) implementation is with the LGU which is coordinated by the [RTF Covid-19]," Roldan said.
The issuance of the uniformed region-wide border control was personally requested by Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio to the RIATF.
This came after Covid-19 cases in some parts of the country continued to experience case surge and the recent discovery of new Covid-19 variants in neighboring provinces in Mindanao.
Roldan said the request was approved last week, but the guidelines were still being finalized as they consolidated the different opinions of local chief executives in the region.