Davao City eyes lifting ‘test before travel’

DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the City Government is gearing toward lifting the mandatory negative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) for air travelers, as this is now being discussed by the Covid-19 Task Force.

“Yes, nahisgutan na pud siya. Na-discuss na namo siya sa (This was also discussed. We discussed it with the) airport team. That will come also. Kana tanan mubalik na na sila tanan shifting into the new normal nato samtang naa pay (Everything may start going back soon to what it was as we shift to the new normal while there is still a) pandemic,” she said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

She said the city is expected to lift the mandatory RT-PCR for passengers flying to Francisco Bangoy International Airport (Davao International Airport) anytime soon.

Currently, the Davao City Government requires all air passengers entering the city through Francisco Bangoy International Airport, also known as Davao International Airport, to submit an RT-PCR test, in accordance with City Ordinance 0477-21, Series of 2021.

This, despite some cities and provinces in the country lifting already the mandatory RT-PCR to attract more tourists and help revive the economy.

The proposed lifting of the negative RT-PCR testing for air passengers came after the City Government recently made adjustments to its existing health protocols following the downtrend of Covid-19 cases in the city.

Duterte-Carpio lifted the 24-hour liquor ban and the 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew on October 26. She also lifted the mandatory barrier on motorcycles and public utility vehicles (PUVs), and made the wearing of face shields in enclosed spaces voluntary in the 3Cs settings — crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces — on Monday, November 2.

With more vaccinated individuals, in addition with the recent medical breakthroughs in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, the mayor said the city is now transitioning towards the “new normal.”

“Padulong na ta diha because wala naman gud tay ginahulat… Ani na pandemic, wala na tay ginahulat because ang ingon sa mga (We are getting there since we are not waiting for anything because according to) scientists, we need the vaccines, the medicines… It’s just a matter of time na muabot ang medisina dinhi sa atoa, unyag matagaan sila og EUA (emergency use authorization) dinhi sa atong nasud (that a medicine, which will be given an EUA, will arrive in the country),” Duterte-Carpio said.

“Therefore, ang atong moves (our moves) must be going towards the new normal,” she added.

City Tourism and Operations Office (CTOO) Chief Generose Tecson said the “Test Before Travel” ordinance will still remain, as the city is still waiting for the guidelines coming from the National Government with regards to the planned scrapping of the mandatory testing for fully vaccinated individuals traveling via air.

“I know they are working on the VaxCert[PH]. That’s what we’re waiting for,” the official said.

The VaxCertPH program is a portal for the issuance of Covid-19 vaccination certificates to fully inoculated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and Filipinos going abroad.

The platform can be used for international and domestic travels in line with the guidelines of the World Health Organization on digital documentation of Covid-19 certificates.

Meanwhile, the Davao Airport is expecting a possible surge of air passengers from direct international flights, particularly in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and Singapore.

SunStar Davao

SunStar Davao

SunStar Davao is Davao City's most sought after community content provider in both print and online. It is part of the SunStar news network in the Philippines. Sun.Star Davao started as a bi-weekly newspaper Peryodiko Dabaw in December 1985 by Elpidio G. Damaso as the so-called alternative press during the end days of the Marcos dictatorship. It started publishing five times a week the following year and was relaunched as Ang Peryodiko Dabaw on September 7, 1987, marking the entry of new investors and its use of desktop publishing, while its Davao City competitors were still using letterpress.

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