Consult LGUs on Travel Policies to Avoid Confusion, Senator Urges IATF

LGUs know the situation on the ground, senator says.
Photo/s: Senate of the Philippines Facebook

Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Thursday urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 to consult local government units first before issuing policies after concerns were raised about the new protocol allowing fully-vaccinated persons to travel domestically even without a negative RT-PCR test result.

Hontiveros said the IATF should recognize the role of LGUs in addressing the pandemic as they know the situation on the ground.

"Kailangan magkonsulta ang IATF sa kanila rin in coming out with national policies and protocols that they then cascade down to the LGUs," she said in a CNN Philippines interview.

"Yung kanilang local health governance will be [an] important piece of the national achievement of flattening the curve when we can actually achieve that," she added.

The IATF recently issued a resolution allowing a vaccination card or certificate of quarantine as alternatives to a RT-PCR test for travel between areas with different quarantine classifications.

Local government heads, however, reportedly said they were not consulted about the new policy, and they would also find it difficult to validate vaccination cards.

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Hontiveros reiterated the statements of the World Health Organization and the Department of Health itself that vaccination only reduces the severity of COVID-19 infection and does not guarantee the non-transmission of the coronavirus.

"Ibig sabihin, if and when we are fully vaccinated as individuals and eventually as a country, testing can and will remain an important in totally flattening the curve because it will indicate pa rin kung tayo ay nahawa at tayo ay makakahawa pa rin even if to a milder degree," she said.

"If the policy at the LGU level is still to conduct a test or certain tests, those must be followed in order to be most responsive to the local COVID-19 conditions on the ground," she added.

The DOH on Wednesday said it will review the new policy on domestic travel for fully-vaccinated following the concerns of LGUs.

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