Palawan won’t readily adapt new IATF policy easing travel restrictions

File photo courtesy of PDRRMO

Puerto Princesa City and several key Palawan towns have yet to consider whether to adapt in full the new guidelines released Saturday by the national Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) that discarded the mandatory RT-PCR testing for arriving passengers, including mandatory facility quarantine for those traveling to the capital.

City administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa and provincial information officer Winston Arzaga told Palawan News in separate interviews they will still need to study the new policy set by the national government.

Pedrosa said the City IATF will take up the matter this coming week, and raised their concerns to the higher policy-making body in adaption or deviation from the new policies set by the national COVID-19 task force.

“We are at the battle front, mas alam natin yung kalagayan at sitwasyon kung ano man ang mayroon tayo dito” Pedrosa said in a phone interview.

Under the new IATF Resolution No. 101, swab testing shall no longer be compulsory for travelers, except if required by the respective LGU. Travelers are also no longer required to undergo facility quarantine upon arrival unless they exhibit known symptoms of COVID-19.

Puerto Princesa City currently requires travelers to take an RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to their departure, and strictly implements mandatory facility quarantine upon arrival.

AirSWIFT Airlines, with route from Manila to El Nido, in an advisory issued on Friday, also echoed  the same testing requirement as outlined by the El Nido LGU through its Revised Executive Order (E.O.) No. 48 effective February 22.

In San Vicente, the negative swab test for COVID-19 also remained in force, as the municipal tourism officers geared to accept domestic travelers under the “bubble” set-up, which was organized under the flagship of Department of Tourism (DOT).

“No exit flight no entry for tourists. No negative rt pcr test taken within 48 hours of departure, no entry. Lahat ng tourists will be issued an acceptance letter by San Vicente,” said Lucy Panagsasan, municipal tourism officer of San Vicente, on February 25.

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