By Rey Anthony Chiu | 12:22 AM October 31, 2021
Unknown to many, aside from the documentary requirements needed for inbound travel to Bohol was a list which is accordingly provided by LGUs and indorsed to the Bohol InterAgency Task Force (BIATF) as guide for the border security authorities who to allow entry.
And in another twist in the drama of accepting inbound travel to Bohol, local authorities blinked and issued yet another order, this time temporarily allowing the use of vaccination cards, a government issued identification card and a documented attempt to obtain an s-pass.
With Executive Order No. 52-B series of 2021, Governor Arthur Yap effectively amended preceding orders contained in Executive Orders No 52 and 52-A reinstituting the use of vaccination cards and streamlining travel requirements for vaccinated individuals entering Bohol.
Earlier, Executive Order No. 52, lifted the negative RT-PCR Test Result requirement for inbound fully vaccinated individuals, but asked them to show their Vaccination Certificates instead.
These certificates generated from the government website vaxcert.doh.gov.ph and duly authenticated and validated by the Department of Health (DOH)-Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) have been deemed as a solution to the proliferation of fake travel documents that could endanger the health and security of the destination LGUs.
EO 52 then said aside from the authenticated vaccination certificate, the traveler must get an approved S-Pass Travel Pass from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) website.
Those requirements however proved impossible to obtain for fully vaccinated individuals whose local government units have yet to encode their vaccination data and upload it to the Department of Information and Communication Technology and Department of Health website.
Another travel requirement, the S-pass is also dependent on the availability of the LGU focal person who approves the application and sends it to Bohol Inter Agency task Force for indorsement to the border security authorities.
With the cumbersome process, the governor tangoed and issued Executive Order No. 52-A, Series of 2021 which temporarily allowed until 30 November 2021 the use of Vaccination Cards, along with Government-issued Identification Cards and S-Pass Travel Pass, in lieu of the vaccination certificates from vaxcert.doh.gov.ph which could not be generated at the moment.
A move seen by many as retrogressive of the effort to motivate people to get vaccinated, the governor lately saw the need to incentivize and encourage vaccination by giving fully vaccinated individuals the liberty of movement and travel.
He however pointed in his order the corollary need to provide safeguards against proliferation of fake Vaccination Cards allowing unvaccinated individuals to travel without presenting negative RT-PCR Test Results.
Moreover, in the expected influx of travelers for the Undas and the approaching Christmas season, the governor again saw the issue with the s-pass travel pass.
In his order, he noted that LGU focal persons are currently swamped all the more with requests for travel approval, for monitoring purposes, the governor ordered the acceptance of travelers even with pending S-pass requests, after consulting with mayors.
“While there is still a need to obtain S-Pass Travel Pass for recording and monitoring purposes, it is no longer the fault of the travelers if their requests remain pending and they should be allowed to travel upon complying with the Vaccination Card and Government-issued ID requirements,” the EO reads.
This now with the current travel requirements for inbound travelers: valid vaccination card, government-Issued Identification Card and S-Pass Travel Pass whether it is approved or pending approval.
The governor has also lifted the prior endorsement from the LGUS to the BIATF as requirement; a travel requirement which just surfaced during the unprecedented stranding of inbound travelers during the day of the Presidential visit.
It was later found out that the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force was enforcing this list for Philippine Coast Guard and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines which showed the names of approved travelers.
With the new EO 52-B, effective October 30, fully vaccinated inbound travelers, upon presenting printed copies of either approved or pending approval S-Pass Applications, vaccination Cards and Government-issued IDs can now be allowed to purchase airline or ship tickets and board and travel to the Province of Bohol. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)