Punish health protocol violators, LGUs told

Emmanuel Tupas (The Philippine Star) - March 3, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With the easing of travel restrictions, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered local government units (LGUs) to impose sanctions on people not observing minimum health protocols.

DILG Undersecretary for operations Epimaco Densing III said LGUs must be proactive to ensure that COVID-19 is kept at bay, especially after the government streamlined travel protocols.

Densing stressed the need to strictly enforce the wearing of face masks and face shields as well as observing physical distancing in public places.

“Magpapalabas na kami ng memorandum sa lahat ng ating lokal na gobyerno na magpasa ng mga ordinansa na magpaparusa sa mga taong lalabas ng bahay... na hindi nagpa-practice ng mga minimum health standards,” the DILG official said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.

Densing urged ordinary citizens to help local officials by calling the attention of their neighbors who are not following health protocols.

The DILG has removed travel authority from police and medical certificates from the place of origin as requirements for land, air and sea travel, in a bid to spur economic activity.

Meanwhile, the Western Visayas Regional Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF is retaining the requirements for locally stranded individuals until the new travel protocols are finalized.

In a resolution issued on Feb. 28, the regional IATF said LGUs in Western Visayas should prepare for the full utilization of Safe, Swift  and Smart Passage (S-Pass), Mobility Management System and StaySafe.PH.

The S-Pass and travel management system of the Department of Science and Technology shall be used as the one-stop shop application and communication for travelers. The StaySafe.PH will be utilized as the primary contact tracing system.

Arriving LSIs in Negros Occidental are required to undergo swab testing upon arrival in the province.

In Zamboanga City, Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar said a negative swab test result is still a requirement for inbound travelers.

Salazar said they would follow the uniform rules for travelers except for the COVID-19 swab testing.

She expressed concern on the easing of travel requirements, noting that the city serves as the transit point of those going to Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and other areas in Zamboanga peninsula. –  Gilbert Bayoran, Roel Pareño

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