THE Provincial Government of Davao Occidental is imposing stricter measures against unvaccinated individuals by requiring them to present a negative Covid-19 test result and vaccination card.

This is in accordance with Executive Order (EO) 001, Series of 2022, signed by Governor Claude Bautista on Friday, January 21.

EO 1, known as “Guidelines on quarantine, isolation, testing and other measures for Covid-19 response in the Province of Davao Occidental,” imposes additional border controls for both unvaccinated and partially vaccinated.

According to the EO, the border checkpoint will be requiring travelers to present their vaccination cards showing that they already have a complete dose and additional booster doses.

In addition, the province will require the following from travelers: travel documents of local stranded individuals (LSIs) and returning overseas Filipino workers (ROFs), booking confirmation for tourists, travel itinerary, office order, travel order, and confirmation letter of activity; negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result taken in the last 72 hour prior to entry or negative rapid antigen test; valid identification card; Stay Safe QR code or CCTS QR Code; and travel manifesto.

The said provisions are stated under Section 5, imposing Regional Border Control, adopting the Regional Inter-Agency Task Force (RIATF) and Regional Task Force (RTF) Joint Resolution 2, making the Regional-Provincial-Municipal Border at Barangay Kitayo, Jose Abad Santos be subjected to the provisions in the said resolution, in addition to existing local executive orders, ordinances, resolution, and other local promulgation.

"Interregional movement shall be allowed via land, sea, and air, provided that the following requirements are presented at the border," the EO states.

Fully vaccinated, according to Section 1 of the EO, are those individuals who received their second dose in a two-dose series two weeks after, and more than or equal to two weeks after receiving a single-dose vaccine such as Johnson and Johnson Jannsen vaccine.

Bautista said the EO is an updated response in the Covid-19 in the province.

Provincial Health Office Chief Dr. Anne Margaux Bautista-Quezada clarified that the province is not imposing a "no vaccination card, no entry" policy.

She said, though, that the Provincial Government is strictly encouraging their residents and those who have essential transactions to be fully vaccinated.

She said that if ever a traveler will not be able to present a vaccination card, they must, in exchange, present a negative RT-PCR test result.

"Well, we would want everyone coming to Davao Occidental to be vaccinated to protect everybody. Should they don't have any vaccination card, or naiwan, there is always the VaxCertificate. Pero kung hindi talaga, because there are still those who refused to be vaccinated, requiring the RT-PCR result would be followed," Bautista-Quezada told SunStar Davao in a phone interview.

She said the restrictions on borders are to avoid another Covid-19 surge in the province, which could overwhelm the province’s limited healthcare facilities, as what they experienced in the third quarter of 2021 brought about the emergence of the Delta variant in the province.

The health official also said this is to further encourage their constituents to get vaccinated as the province is experiencing a low vaccination turnout.

As of January 24, the province has a total of 354 active cases. This is an exponential increase from eight active cases from January 15, as mentioned in the EO.

The issuance of the EO comes a day after the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao detected the first five Covid-19 cases with the Omicron variant in Davao Region. Two of them are from Davao Occidental.

One case is a 28-year-old, fully vaccinated female and resident of Davao Occidental with no history of international travel. She was swabbed for RT-PCR testing last December 11, 2021.

Another is a 63-year-old male who is fully vaccinated and a resident of Davao Occidental with no history of international travel. He was swabbed for RT-PCR testing last December 16, 2021.

Alex Roldan, of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)-Davao, said in a recent interview that local government units that are planning to restrict the movement of unvaccinated individuals within their respective localities must impose it through an executive order or ordinance.

Roldan also revealed that the League of Provinces of the Philippines had encouraged all provinces to come up with their own regulation of unvaccinated individuals, including the prohibition of entrance of unvaccinated individuals.