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DISCARD PNP TRAVEL PASS; HEALTH CLEARANCE SHOULD BE OK FOR TRAVEL IN QUARANTINE AREAS — REP. CASTELO

Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo is urging the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to do away with the travel pass being issued by the Philippine National Police (PNP) to travelers in quarantine areas.

Castelo said the PNP travel pass has no “probative value” in terms of a person’s health and thus only adds to burden and anxiety of travelers, especially overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs).

“People are complaining about having a hard time or not being able to move from one place to another even if they have valid reasons.”

She said the medical certificate issued by the Department of Health (DOH) should be enough to prove that an individual is healthy to travel and that he has been found negative of COVID-19.

She said local government units receiving OFWs and LSIs should demand the presentation of a DOH health clearance instead of a travel pass.

“By not requiring the OFWs and LSIs to secure  police travel passes, we lighten the burden they carry during the crisis brought by the pandemic,” Castelo added.

It would also lead to faster processing of permits for necessary journeys currently made difficult or impossible by existing restrictions to contain the spread of COVID-19, she said.

“Many of our people are complaining about having a hard time or not being able to move from one place to another even if they have valid reasons to do so because of the many safety protocols imposed by the government. Removing an unnecessary one from the long list of protocols can be very helpful for travelers, especially the most hard-hit by the outbreak,” she stressed.

“We can lessen corruption and improve public service if non-essential requirements are eliminated.”

At the same time, Castelo expressed alarm over reports that certificates and permits required to be obtained by travelers are sometimes abused by some “very enterprising” authorities.

“We can lessen corruption and improve public service if non-essential requirements are eliminated in the government’s COVID-19 response system,” she said.

She reminded issuing public officers of President Duterte’s oft-repeated directive: Deliver service promptly, no red tape, no corruption.

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