JTF CV Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar. (File photo)

MANILA – The Joint Task Force Covid Shield (JTF CV Shield) has bared the simplified process of securing travel pass as it relaxed some security protocols in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ).

In a statement Tuesday, JTF CV Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said that in coordination with the Philippine National Police (PNP), they have allowed the movement of locally stranded individuals (LSIs) and indispensable travels such as for medical and family emergencies within Metro Manila and within the same province.

“Since we are now implementing GCQ and modified GCQ and also indispensable travels are similar to the case of the LSIs, then travels within National Capital Region and within the province shall be permitted without the travel authority,” Eleazar said in a statement.

Eleazar explained that based on the instruction of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, travel authority will only be required if the travels are outside Metro Manila and outside the provinces, but the process of securing this was also simplified by delegating it to the local police commanders.

“For those whose travel is outside Metro Manila, the issuance of the travel authority is delegated to the District Directors,” said Eleazar.

There are five police districts in Metro Manila: the Quezon City Police District (QCPD); the Manila Police District (MPD); the Eastern Police District (EPD) which covers the cities San Juan, Mandaluyong, Pasig and Marikina; the Northern Police District (NPD) which covers Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas, and Valenzuela; and Southern Police District (SPD) which has jurisdiction over Taguig, Las Piñas, Makati, Pasay, Parañaque, Muntinlupa, Las Pinas and the municipality of Pateros.

For those in the province whose travel is to another province but within the region, he said the travel authority is now delegated to the chiefs of police.

Travels that require crossing the border of two regions require the authority of the provincial director. For those in Metro Manila, this power is delegated to the district director.

The following protocols are now being followed for the issuance of Travel Authority for LSIs and for indispensable travels:

-Chiefs of police of city and municipal police stations have the authority to issue travel authority for travel outside the province but within the region;

-District directors, provincial directors and city directors have the authority to issue travel authority for travels outside the regions; and

-Higher issuing authorities like police regional directors and the PNP Directorate for Operations can still issue travel authority.

The move, according to Eleazar, seeks to facilitate and expedite the entire process for the benefit of the LSIs and those who need to make indispensable travels since they can now go to the nearest police stations in their communities to secure travel authority.

The requirements for the issuance of the travel authority are as follows:

-Certification from the Punong Barangay that the person who wants to travel has not developed any (coronavirus disease 2019) symptoms at least 14 days before the travel request. The certification from the barangay captain will serve as an endorsement to the City and Municipal Health Office to conduct medical examination;

-Medical clearance certificate from the City or Municipal Health Office

Eleazar said only a medical clearance certificate is needed to secure a Travel Authority, and this should be submitted to the Help Desks in the police stations.

Once the travel authority is approved, the police personnel manning the help desk would notify the person to pick up the hard copy of the travel authority, or, the travel authority could be sent via e-mail or any messaging apps like Messenger or Viber.

Eleazar, however, still advised the public to avoid unnecessary travels, noting that that the threat of the disease remains high.

“More people may have been allowed to go out as our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and his team of crisis managers decided to reopen our economy but we must always remember that the coronavirus is still out there, just waiting for an opportunity to strike on any individual. So please bear with the public safety measures that the government has to strictly enforce. These are all for our safety, the safety of our family, and the welfare of our nation,” said Eleazar.

As such, he said people who want to buy food and in need of basic services must not cross borders of towns, cities, and even provinces if all of them are available within their localities.

Eleazar said unnecessary travels that include buying of food products in other communities when the same products are available in their communities are still deemed violations of the quarantine protocols under GCQ and MGCQ.

He said that policemen and soldiers manning the QCPs were all briefed about the travel protocols and, thus, aware if the person is just making an alibi for unauthorized travels.

“Our Chief PNP, Gen. Archie Gamboa has instructed the policemen manning the checkpoints to exercise maximum tolerance so we appeal to the people to respect them at least by obeying the quarantine rules,” said Eleazar.

Duterte earlier approved the downgrading of Metro Manila, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Central Visayas, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Cebu City and Mandaue City from modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) to more relaxed GCQ from June 1 to 15. The rest of the country will be under MGCQ. (PNA)