It goes without saying that 2020 felt like one of the longest years ever. With the entire country placed in one form of lockdown or another for the better part of 10 months, it’s understandable that many people have the urge to travel—be it by land, air, or sea. Even while the country was placed under Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), folks traveling on both two and four wheels were flagged down and asked to turn around at inter-municipal checkpoints.
At long last, it would appear that things are beginning to return to normal. An announcement by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) confirms that Travel Authority and Medical Certifications are no longer required when crossing intercity borders. Prior to this, places like Baguio, as well as parts of Rizal Province required PNP-issued Travel Authority certifications, as well as Medical Certificates showing a negative swab-test result for COVID-19.
The announcement was made after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the DILG’s proposed harmonized national travel protocols for land, air, and sea travel across the country. Last Friday, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson, Jonathan Malaya, stated that the IATF has issued Resolution No. 101, hereby approving the harmonized travel protocols recommended by the DILG, PNP, Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, League of Municipalities of the Philippines, League of Provinces of the Philippines, and the League of Cities of the Philippines.
It’s important to note that the DILG emphasized that COVID-19 testing is no longer mandatory. Local Government Units (LGUs) may continue to require testing, however, testing will be limited only to Reverse-Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests. On top of this, local authorities have been mandated to ensure that both visitors and locals observe strict public health protocols such as social distancing and the use of face masks.