public transportation

No more COVID-19 protocols for travelers after lifting of public health emergency

Lance Spencer Yu

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No more COVID-19 protocols for travelers after lifting of public health emergency

LRT. Commuters queue to board trains at the LRT-2 Masinag Station in Antipolo on February 1, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

Passengers of trains, airplanes, and other modes of public transportation are no longer required to wear face masks

MANILA, Philippines – Transportation agencies have issued new policies in relation to COVID-19 protocols after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. lifted the state of public health emergency due to the pandemic in the country.

For travelers, this means a big change, like no longer being required to wear face masks when riding public transportation.

The Department of Transportation issued Department Order No. 2023-017, dated Saturday, July 22, undoing all policies that are effective only during the public health emergency.

“All prior Department Orders, Special Orders, Office Orders, Memoranda, and issuances that are effective only during the State of Public Health Emergency are hereby withdrawn, revoked or canceled and shall no longer be in effect,” read Department Order No. 2023-017, dated Saturday, July 22.

The Department of Health also issued an advisory declaring that all established COVID protocols for travelers are lifted, making the use of masks in public transport voluntary “from a technical standpoint.” Individuals are now free to make their own choice on whether to mask up.

So far, all train operators have already announced the lifting of their COVID-19 protocols on their trips. The Light Rail Transit Line 1 (LRT1), Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2) and Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3) have all said that the wearing of face masks in trains is now voluntary. Talking on the phone or with other train passengers is also now permitted.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aeronautics Board issued a parallel advisory stating that all COVID-19-related orders are no longer in effect for air travelers in the Philippines, and that airline companies may discontinue implementation of all COVID-19 protocols.

Passengers also no longer have to upload any proof of vaccination and COVID-19 test results when registering on the eTravel portal.

However, the Bureau of Quarantine said that it will continue to monitor inbound passengers and subject to further screening those who will exhibit flu-like symptoms, including high temperatures as detected by their thermal scanners. –

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Lance Spencer Yu

Lance Spencer Yu is a multimedia reporter who covers the transportation, tourism, infrastructure, finance, agriculture, and corporate sectors, as well as macroeconomic issues.