Bataan IATF to implement: “No QR Code, No Entry” System

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The Bataan Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), led by Gov. Albert Garcia, will implement a QR Code System in all its entry checkpoints starting Oct. 1 in an effort to curb the surge of COVID-19 cases in the province.

Gov. Garcia said that the technology-based QR Code approach will be operational using the Get Pass mobile phone application and is downloadable for free from either Google Play Store or Apple App Store.

Garcia added that this simplified process will help monitor the health conditions of everyone entering Bataan, whether they be returning residents or workers residing outside the province as well as allow effective contact-tracing in the midst of the outbreak being experienced in the communities at this time.

“I couldn’t over-emphasize the importance of contact-tracing in our fight against COVID-19. Only in our ability to identify the source of the infection can we efficiently respond to the crisis in our communities. The QR Code system is consistent with all our efforts to mitigate the spread of Coronavirus and provide more protection to the Bataenos and their families against COVID-19,” he said.

A QR code can be obtained after downloading a Get Pass mobile app, registering and filling out an online health declaration form and travel authority . To those who don’t own a smart phone, they can secure their QR Code by accessing the website www.getpass.com.

The QR code shall be presented at the checkpoint upon entry in Bataan along with additional requirements like employment certificate and personal identification.  For those who travel to Bataan on a daily basis, their assigned QR code/travel pass will be effective for 15 days while the rest will be issued a one-time pass only.

This system is contained in the Bataan Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) Resolution No. 22 passed last Sept. 4 that also suspended the implementation of Resolution No. 19 that called for stricter border control by requiring documents, specifically RT-PCR negative test results among others, from Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROF) including balikbayans, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) and seafarers, Locally-Stranded Individuals (LSIs) and Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) entering the province of Bataan.

After careful evaluation, IATF made the decision to suspend the earlier Resolution “to take into consideration the insights and submissions from the people” which aided them “to keep a balance between safety and practical soundness of some of the provisions paving the way for the establishment of a more streamlined, convenient and effective anti-COVID-19 protocol for APORs entering the province, with emphasis on online registration and QR code verification at the borders of Bataan.”

Intermittent news of pocket outbreaks in the barangays happened during the last two months. Contact-tracing revealed that it was due to the following reasons: there were Bataan residents working in Metro Manila who didn’t know they were afflicted with COVID-19 when they came home to their families; some Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and seafarers tested positive upon arrival in Bataan even after showing a clearance from the Bureau of Quarantine;  and some visiting non-Bataan residents who participated in mass gathering and mingled at the work places became spreaders of Coronavirus.

Garcia added, “we do not want to overwhelm our health system with the rising COVID-19 cases. An efficient contact-tracing system will help diminish the chances of infection and in the long run, give our health workers the much-needed break they deserve from taking care of the sick.”

He added that the QR Code will also be a useful tool moving towards the new normal as it can be utilized for contact-tracing efforts in business establishments, public transportation and government offices in Bataan.

In addition to the QR Code scanning, standard protocols will also be observed at the checkpoints:  All persons entering the province must wear face masks, must subject themselves to temperature scanning and vehicle inspection. Those who fail to follow the said protocols or present the necessary requirements shall be denied entry into the province.

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