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Nation

Davao extends no COVID-19 test rule to June 30

Edith Regalado - The Philippine Star

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio of this city has extended the validity of an executive order that removed a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test result as a requirement for inbound travelers.

The order was extended until the end of her term on June 30.

Carpio signed the order on Thursday, extending the no-RT-PCR test requirement for domestic land, sea and air travelers.

International flight passengers including those arriving through connecting domestic flights must comply with the requirement and guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The extension took effect on Jan. 16 after the first order that Carpio signed on Nov. 15, 2021 expired on Jan. 15.

“There is a need to continue implementing existing protocols for travelers entering Davao City by land, sea, or air both for domestic and international following the active vaccination rollout within the city,” Carpio said in the order.

As of Jan. 15, Davao City had inoculated a total of 1.27 million people with their first doses, or 97.58 percent of its target population of 1.29 million.

Those who received their second doses stand at 92.9 percent. At least 121,050 have received boosters.

Citing this data, the city government said there is no need to require travelers to present a negative RT-PCR test result.

No travel document is needed to enter the city, except for security purposes that the military and police may require for anti-crime operations.

Carpio also signed an order extending the modified liquor ban and the lifting of the curfew hours in the city until June 30.

Negros Occ wants RT-PCR test for travelers

On the other hand, Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson is firm on requiring inbound travelers to present a negative RT-PCR test result.

Lacson announced his decision after operators of sea vessels plying the Bacolod-Iloilo and back routes proposed the lifting of the RT-PCR test result requirement.

Frank Carbon, operator of the Weesam Express, earlier said they would ask the local governments of Negros Occidental and Bacolod City to lift the requirement, noting that Iloilo City and Iloilo province are also under Alert Level 3.

Lacson said he has not received any letter from the local business community.

“I’d rather stay on the safe side by requiring travelers to present a negative RT-PCR result. It’s being implemented too in other provinces,” Lacson said.

Provincial inter-agency task force action officer Rayfrando Diaz and economic affairs consultant Alfredo Benitez met yesterday to discuss matters on how to better protect the people of Negros Occidental and Bacolod from the virus.

“We should create a bubble to ensure the balance between saving lives and protecting the economy,” Benitez said.

He said there is a need to protect the borders to ensure that people coming in from other places are properly screened and tested. – Gilbert Bayoran

COVID-19

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