DILG eyes unified travel regulations nationwide

By: Dexter Cabalza - Philippine Daily Inquirer | February 21,2021 - 08:35 AM

MANILA, Philippines — Easing quarantine restrictions starting March would deal with the confusion caused by different travel restrictions imposed by local governments across the country and hasten economic activity, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said on Saturday.

“The people are confused about travel regulations because they vary from province to province,” Jonathan Malaya, spokesperson for the DILG, said in a statement on Saturday.

He noted that some local governments require travel authorization, while others do not. Some local governments require an antigen test, while others require polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests prior to travel. Some local governments require a 14-day quarantine regardless of the PCR test result submitted.

“There is a need to streamline the different travel restrictions imposed by [local governments] to domestic travelers. Placing the entire country under one quarantine classification would allow the DILG to harmonize the fragmented travel regulations,” Malaya added.

Malaya said the DILG organized a technical working group to work with local governments, under the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines, to streamline local regulations for domestic travel.

The move would encourage people to travel locally for leisure, consequently ramping up the economy by reviving the tourism sector heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re not saying that we will remove all travel restrictions and go back to where we came from. That’s impossible because COVID-19 is still here,” Malaya said.

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