Iloilo City

Iloilo City eases S-PASS requirement for inbound travelers

Joseph B.A. Marzan
Iloilo City eases S-PASS requirement for inbound travelers

Department of Health Region VI lead the ceremonial vaccination of minors age 12 years old at Iloilo St. Paul's Hospital and witness by Mayor Jerry Treñas and Cong. Jamjam Baronda in Iloilo City.

ARNOLD ALMACEN/Iloilo City Mayor's Office

The decision of the local government unit will facilitate easier access to and from Iloilo City and, hopefully, will spur business activity, says Mayor Jerry Treñas

Fully vaccinated travelers to Iloilo City will only need to present their vaccination cards, as the local government announced on Monday, November 1, it was lifting the requirement to submit documents for S-PASS approval.

They must still submit their personal data through the S-PASS website, but will no longer need to present any documentary requirements.

As for those partially vaccinated or unvaccinated against COVID-19, they still need to present a negative RT-PCR test result, as may be required by airline and shipping companies.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas told Rappler that the LGU’s COVID Team arrived at the decision to facilitate easier access to the city for all travelers. He added this would have a positive effect on the city’s economy.

He cited rules implemented by local governments in Bacolod and Negros Occidental which also eased restrictions to and from Iloilo.

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“As we are heading towards December, we should loosen up, because businesses are being affected, and if they are affected, then we would lose jobs,” Treñas said via phone interview.

The mayor is confident that the ease in travel requirements won’t affect the city’s decline in COVID case trends.

The City Epidemiological Surveillance Unit (CESU) reported that the city added only 9 new cases on October 31.

“Our cases have been going down, and so is in other places. Metro Manila is already on Alert Level 3, and their COVID vaccination rate has now reached more than 80% . So, we have that level of confidence,” he said.

Alert level appeal

While Iloilo City is under Alert Level 3 from November 1 to 14, Treñas has not yet released an executive order on the new quarantine classification status.

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He said that he would appeal the city’s Alert Level 3 status – in favor of Alert Level 2 – on Tuesday, November 2, citing the downtrend of COVID cases.

The most recent data by the Department of Health-Western Visayas, as of October 28, showed that the city had 374 new COVID cases between October 12 to 25, lower than new cases from September 28 to Oct. 11.

“I will file the appeal because I think all the parameters are there showing that we are at Alert Level 2 or even more. Our daily cases are already low,” he said.

But under Alert Level 3, the mayor said that there wouldn’t be much changes from the previous General Community Quarantine.

Spas would be allowed to operate at 50% capacity, and government offices would be allowed to raise more than 50% if fully vaccinated.

He said that he had already informed the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) of his planned appeal, which was met with lukewarm reception, but this does not seem to faze him.

“I informed the DILG. They told me that Metro Manila did not appeal [their Level 3 status], but I think they need to know the actual situation here,” he said.

Vaccination for minors

Meanwhile, the city government will also begin vaccinating minors aged 12 to 17 years old on Tuesday, November 2.

These will be done at five vaccination sites, including Ateneo De Iloilo, Robinsons Place Jaro, Megaworld Transport Hub, Ateneo De Iloilo, and University of San Agustin.

Each vaccination site is close to a major hospital in the city, as part of the DOH’s recommendation should there be any adverse effect.

According to the city government’s Facebook post, there would be no scheduled vaccinations for adults aged 18 years and above on November 2.

While there have been more than 5,000 minors pre-registered for COVID vaccination, they would now allow walk-ins.

Non-resident minors studying or currently living in Iloilo City would also be allowed to get their jabs.

Adult companions who are also unvaccinated are also allowed to get their vaccines in the same place.

Vaccination for minors was piloted last Friday, October 29, at the St. Paul’s Hospital with 130 minors receiving their first COVID vaccine shots. None were reported to have had adverse effects. – Rappler.com

Joseph B.A. Marzan is a Visayas-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Felowship.