By Rey Anthony Chiu, PIA-Bohol | 01:08 PM March 07, 2021
From a lengthy list of requirements, travelers to Bohol would now need to present two requirements to be allowed to move out of the airport or ports of arrival, by virtue of Executive Order No. 17 (EO 17), series of 2021.
That is considering that you exhibit no symptoms of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) upon arrival at the port or airport of entry in Bohol.
With this, the old mandatory quarantine protocols would only be set for inbound travelers who exhibit the symptoms of the disease, until the traveler is certified medically recovered from the disease, that is when he would be released.
Issued by Governor Arthur Yap on March 3, 2021, EO 17 implements in Bohol the Inter Agency Task Force on the management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 101 series of 2021, and amends an earlier EO No. 12 which provides for new testing protocols and lifts the quarantine requirement.
By EO No. 17, residents returning to Bohol, be they locally stranded individuals, Overseas Filipino Workers, Filipinos from travel abroad, authorized persons outside residence and domestic and foreign tourists need only to present a negative for COVID-19 test result via Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) assay taken at least 72 hours prior to departure to Bohol.
And while doing so, the inbound traveler has to secure a Certificate of Confirmation and Endorsement (COCE) from the destination local government unit, this document being a requirement for the traveler to purchase his plane or boat ticket to Bohol.
For non APORs, meaning domestic and or foreign tourists, instead of the COCE, registering online at the Bohol tourism portal: tourism.bohol.gov.ph or http://www.boholtourismph.com, secures for him his papers equivalent to a COCE.
Having these two requirements complied, the traveler will no longer be required repeat testing and further quarantine, and would be free to go about their businesses in Bohol.
The move, according to the EO hopes to mitigate the economic cost and losses stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and accelerate the recovery, as well as bolster resilience of the Philippine economy through measures grounded on economic exclusivity.
The local measure, as a response to the IATF resolution comes as a welcome relief especially when summer is fast approaching and tourism is supposed to peak with domestic and international travels.
The move also come a few more days shy of a year after Bohol closed its borders to inbound passengers in efforts to curb and arrest the wayward spread of the virulent disease that has exponentially spread in Luzon then.
A few months later, after the government asserted the right of individuals to come home, health and security authorities put up protocols to make sure that those who would be allowed re-entry into their home provinces would be pre-screened through COVID tests, placed on 14 day quarantine and repeat-tested for the presence of the virus.
This then entailed hassles for the inbound traveler, who would have to secure a medical clearance certificate from his rural health facility, attesting to the fact that the traveler has not contracted the disease 14 days prior to his travel and that he has not gone out to areas with high COVID-19 affectation.
Having obtained the medical clearance, the traveler goes to the local police to secure a travel authority to be used to set up and initiate local coordination between LGU of origin to LGU of destination for the proper endorsement of the inbound passenger.
Sometime later, the protocols included a redundant system of informing LGUS mandated to prepare the inbound traveler’s isolation and quarantine facility as well as his health monitoring.
With these burdening protocols discouraging local and international travels, the EO is expected to open the gates of travel and rouse the slumped local tourism, stakeholders hoped. (rahchiu/PIA-7/Bohol)