JTF Covid Shield Commander, clarifies travel protocols

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As the Provincial Government of Cavite decided to open its borders for tourists especially those heading to Tagaytay City, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield clarified that travel protocols must still be observed in order to protect their areas from the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).

Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, Commander of the JTF COVID Shield, emphasized that only those coming from areas under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) or no community quarantine status are allowed to enter the LGUs that opened their borders for tourists, without the need for a Travel Authority.

“Local tourists who would come from areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), and Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) are still required to secure a Travel Authority,” said PLt. Gen. Eleazar.

PLt. Gen. Eleazar, however, stressed that the National Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by Secretary of the National Defense Delfin Lorenzana is still giving the LGUs the discretion in implementing rules that would manage and control the entry of non-local residents.

“LGUs may or may not require a Travel Authority for entering tourists. We leave the decision to them for as long as the travel protocols are still observed when they open their borders for tourists,” said PLt. Gen. Eleazar.

The JTF COVID Shield made the reminder after Tagaytay City decided to open their area for tourists as part of the move to revive its local economy. Some LGUs are also planning to do the same.

Based on the Omnibus Guideline issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), only LGUs under the MGCQ status and no quarantine status are allowed to open their places for tourists.

But the Omnibus Guideline also stipulated that the tourists who should be accommodated are those from MGCQ status and no quarantine status.

Currently, Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan, Tacloban City and Bacolod City are under the GCQ. Iligan City is under ECQ.

Since Cavite is under MGCQ, tourists that would enter the province through Batangas and Metro Manila are required to present a Travel Authority at the border control checkpoints.

Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, Vice Chairman of the National Task Force on COVID-19, emphasized the importance of acting in accordance with the travel protocols in order to protect the LGUs concerned from the coronavirus mass infection.

“While the LGUs under MGCQ or no community quarantine status are given the discretion to decide on whether or not they would open their areas for tourists and other travelers for the purpose of reviving their economy, the rules from the IATF must still be conformed for the protection of their own people,” said SILG Año.

For his part, PLt. Gen. Eleazar said they are now coordinating with the Philippine National Police through Police General Camilo Pancratius Cascolan, in order to task police commanders to maintain coordination with their respective LGUs in terms of the entry of non-residents in their respective Areas of Responsibility (AOR).

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