DAVAO CITY, Philippines – While the city is in strict community quarantine measures, its mayor issued three more executive orders (EOs) to augment public health safety especially on border control in the region to combat the spread of COVID-19 infections.
On May 8, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio released EO No.29 adopting the joint Regional Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases- Regional Task Force Against COVID -19 (RIATF-RTF) XI resolution No.1 series of 2021 setting the guidelines to regulate the entry and exit in regional borders of Davao region.
The border control will start at 12:01 a.m. on May 14, 2021 giving authorities ample time to prepare for any possible circumstances in the implementation of the new order that “shall only be applicable in all Davao City checkpoints bordering other regions.”
In her interview, Duterte-Carpio identified Lumundao in Marilog District as the sole checkpoint to implement the RIATF-RTF XI resolution No. 1. Barangay Lumundao is the entry point from North Cotabato and Bukidnon areas.
The Philippine Information Agency (PIA)-Davao de Oro on its Facebook account posted the joint RIATF-RTF-Davao Resolution 01 series of 2021 on May 3 stipulating that uniform guidelines have been set for the entry and exit in the regionwide border control as proactive measure to slow down the surge of COVID-19 cases and prevent spread of new COVID-19 variants to the region.
Section 3 of the resolution exempts authorized persons outside residence (APOR) from the mandatory Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test including health and emergency frontline services and uniformed personnel, government officials and employees on official business travels, duly-authorized humanitarian assistance actors especially those transporting medical supplies and laboratory specimens related to COVID-19 and other relief and humanitarian assistance.
The resolution also considers persons traveling for medical or humanitarian reasons, such as but not limited to attendance to burial of next of kin, watchers of medical patients, takers of board/licensure/eligibility exams, and accompanying family/relative in transporting human remains, persons, accompanying the elderly or those with frail conditions, and other similar instances as APOR.
Those who are also going to and from the airport, including those individuals crossing zones for work and business or business permitted in the zone of destination, and going back home, and public utility vehicle operators are considered APOR.
Open Fraction of Vehicle Windows
On May 5, Duterte-Carpio issued EO No.25 requiring national and local government vehicles to open a fraction of the windows in-transit within the city to get adequate ventilation or airflow for the passengers.
In an interview over Davao City Disaster radio, Duterte-Carpio said that EO No. 25 is adopted from the ventilation ordinance of the city government mandating open-air ventilation of offices and establishments in the city.
“We saw it that there is non-pharmaceutical intervention which can be employed like opening the windows of vehicles. We suggested it before but it has not been implemented yet,” the mayor said.
Flight restrictions lifted
On May 6, she issued the EO No. 26 in response to the request of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) highlighting the need “to remove all restrictions on flight operations to allow for more economic activities in so far civil aviation is a concern.”
Prior to this, Duterte-Carpio issued EO No.9 that banned flights from Clark International Airport to prevent passengers from Metro Manila to enter the city. She also released EOs No.12 and 22 series of 2020 suspending all international and domestic travels in and out of Davao City.
Following those EOs, she also issued EO No.18 granting exemption of certain inbound and outbound international and domestic flights from Davao City.
Davao International Airport (DIA) reopened last June 8, 2020 allowing domestic commercial flights under the strict implementation of health safety protocols. Passengers entering Davao City via DIA is required to present a negative RT-PCR and follow a 14-day home quarantine.
“The CAAP here in Davao International Airport requested our office to lift or repeal the EOs issued in 2020. CAAP wants clear documents that say flights are allowed in DIA,’’ she said.
The resolution however requires returning residents of the region that are non-APOR to present negative RT-PCR test results accompanied by any identification cards showing their residence address or any proof of residence. Aside from securing negative RT-PCR results, tourists who are non-residents are required to present resort booking confirmation and their StaySafe.PH application.
Meanwhile, the resolution allows essential travel to non-residents in the region for essential goods, services and medical consultations provided that they can present any of the following documents: proof of appointment; medical prescription/referral; or any other document showing proof of essential transaction is valid for 24 hours within the region unless their transaction requires more than the maximum time allowed.