QUICK RESPONSE CODE. Governor Albert Garcia said on Friday (Sept. 18, 2020) that entry in Bataan is not allowed without the Quick Response (QR) codes starting October 1. Garcia said the move is to stop the surge of Covid-19 cases in the province. (Photo by Ernie Esconde)

BALANGA CITY, Bataan – The provincial Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has passed a resolution requiring the use of quick response (QR) codes for those who would enter the province.

Governor Albert Garcia, who is also the provincial IATF chair, said on Friday the QR code system would be implemented beginning October 1 in all entry points in the province to stop the surge of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

“This is to monitor all those entering the province and maintain the safety not only of authorized persons outside residence (APOR), returning overseas Filipino workers (ROF) and locally-stranded individuals (LSI) but also their families,” Garcia said.

He said the technology-based QR Code will be operational using the Get Pass mobile phone application that is downloadable for free from either Apple App Store or Google Play.

Garcia said the code can be obtained after downloading the mobile app, registering, and filling out an online health declaration form and travel authority.

To those who have no smartphones, the QR code can be accessed through the website www.getpass.com.

Here is the step-by-step procedure on how to get the QR Code: (1) Download the Get-Pass Application available in Google Play at App Store and sign up; (2) Answer health declaration form; (3) Click calendar and go to the travel authorization section; (4) Answer questions on travel appointment; and (5) Save or print the QR Code with the date of travel and appointment number.

Travelers have to present the QR code at the checkpoint upon entering the province along with other requirements like employment certificate and personal identification.

For those who travel to the province on a daily basis, their assigned QR code/travel pass will be effective for 15 days while the rest will be issued a one-time pass only.

The governor said the simplified process in a big way will help monitor the health conditions of everyone entering Bataan and allow effective contact-tracing on returning residents or workers residing outside the province.

“Contact-tracing is very important in our fight against Covid-19. Only in our ability to identify the source of the infection can we efficiently respond to the crisis in our communities. The QR code system is consistent with all our efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus and provide more protection to our residents and their families,” Garcia said.

He said there were pockets of Covid-19 outbreaks in some barangays during the last two months.

Contact tracing, he said, showed that these were caused by Bataan residents working in Metro Manila, overseas Filipino workers/seafarers, and visiting non-Bataan residents.

They either did not know they were infected with the virus or although with clearance from the Bureau of Quarantine, they still tested positive when they arrived in the province and became Covid–19 transmitters, the governor said.

“We do not want to overwhelm our health system with the rising Covid-19 cases. An efficient contact tracing system will help diminish the chances of infection and in the long run, give our health workers the much-needed break they deserve from taking care of the sick,” Garcia said.

He said the QR code would also be useful in moving towards the new normal as it can be used for contact tracing in business establishments, public transportation, and government offices in Bataan.

“In addition to the QR code scanning, standard protocols will also be observed at the checkpoints: All persons entering the province must wear face masks, must subject themselves to temperature scanning and vehicle inspection,” the governor said.

Garcia warned that those who fail to follow the said protocols or present the necessary requirements will be denied entry into the province. (PNA)