By: Consuelo Marquez
Only persons who must cross provincial and regional borders should secure a “travel authority” in order to pass through control points established along boundaries.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, chief of Joint Task Force COVID Shield, issued this explanation Wednesday in a bid to dispel confusion on who are required and not required to get travel authority in order to move places amid eased lockdown measures to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.
According to Eleazar, the need to secure travel authority is only when a person’s “travel would require crossing the border of another province or another region.” He stressed that people who would travel just within their provinces are not required to get travel authority.
In the case of dwellers in the National Capital Region or Metro Manila, they do not need to secure a travel authority if their movements will only occur within the metropolitan area.
“If a person in Metro Manila is an LSI (locally-stranded individual), or he/she needs to travel due to family and medical emergencies and the destination is outside Metro Manila, then he/she still needs to secure a Travel Authority,” Eleazar pointed out.
“The same is true in the provinces. If a person in a province is an LSI or the travel is an indispensable one, he/she is excused from securing a Travel Authority if the movement is within the province. But if the travel would require crossing the border of another province or another region, then he/she still needs to secure a Travel Authority,” he added.
Eleazar emphasized that the lifting of travel restrictions is only for LSIs and indispensable travels since the government wants to ease their burden from processing documents because of the emergency situations they are into. LSIs, he noted, refer to students, workers, and other people who were forced to stay in various areas away from their homes because of the strict implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) for more than two months.
Since the travel restrictions for non-LSIs and the non-indispensable travels remain, Eleazar advised the public to avoid unnecessary travels.
Meanwhile, Eleazar said that for those who need to get a travel authority, they could go to the City or Municipal Police Station since the authority to issue travel authority was already delegated to the local police commanders.
He then enumerated the protocol being observed in securing a travel authority are as follows:
- Chiefs of Police of City and Municipal Police Stations have the authority to issue travel authority for travel outside the province but within the region;
- District Directors, Provincial Directors, and City Directors have the authority to issue travel authority for travels outside the region;
- Higher issuing authorities like Police Regional Directors and the PNP Directorate for Operations can still issue travel authority.
He said only a Medical Clearance Certificate from the City and Municipal Health Office is needed in securing a travel authority. He said the Medical Clearance Certificate must be submitted to the Help Desks of police offices mentioned above, depending on the destination of the travel.
And once the travel authority is approved, Eleazar said the police personnel manning the Help Desk would notify the person to pick up the hard copy of the travel authority, or, send the travel authority via e-mail or any messaging apps like Messenger or Viber.
In a separate radio interview, Eleazar said local government units (LGUs) may choose to “delay the travel authority” of individuals or travelers who would enter their areas.
“While it is true na hindi naman pwede i-deny nung LGU of destination ‘yung pagpunta nila (travelers) pero pwede mag-request na i-delay ‘yung travel authority kasi depende sa kanilang capacity. May iba ibang protocol ‘yan,” Eleazar said over dzBB.
(While it is true that an LGU can’t deny entry of travelers but they can request for a delay of travel authority because it depends on their capacity. They have different protocols.)
“Nirerespeto natin sila (LGUs) kung halimbawa more than 100 na ‘yung naka-quarantine dun eh hindi po nila kayang tanggapin pa ‘yung dadagsa pang na LSIs at mag-ta-travel dun at maaaring mag-cause ng delay on the issuance of travel authority,” he added.
(We respect them for example that more than 100 people are already staying in their quarantine facilities, and that they cannot receive more LSIs and other travelers. That may cause delay on the issuance of travel authority.)