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This Week in Bacolod (October 24 to 30, 2021)

RT-PCR test no longer required for fully vaccinated travelers, returning residents

By: Mira Maestrecampo | October 24, 2021
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The country has opted to improve its economy and tourism despite the pandemic being far from over. Bacolod City and Negros Occidental have eased quarantine requirements and protocols, making it easier for travelers to return home or to have a visit in the province. COVID-19 cases are still adding up, but the government’s health sector is still firm on imposing regulations needed to ensure public’s safety.

In the anticipated All Saint’s Day, cemeteries are bound to temporarily close to avoid the crown flocking and violating social distancing measures. On a positive note, vaccines continue to be available to the public in designated malls. By the end of the year, the government would reach the target of inoculating almost more than half of the population as vaccination drives are still ongoing.

Quarantine Updates: RT-PCR test no longer required for fully vaccinated travelers, returning residents

A majority of areas in the Philippines have loosened their quarantine protocols for incoming travelers entering the country, and Bacolod has also recently implemented the same revised quarantine protocol. Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia approved an executive order on dropping the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test requirements for fully vaccinated travelers, returning residents, and tourists. This new order by the city government no longer requires the RT-PCR test for individuals traveling by land, air, and sea.

All incoming fully vaccinated travelers still must present proof of their fully vaccinated status through their certified vaccination card or a legitimate certificate given by the health authority from either their local or foreign points of origin. They can also present certification and proof of completing the required quarantine days issued by the Bureau of Quarantine.

The EO 49, series of 2021 released by the Bacolod City Information office, still implements that unvaccinated and partially vaccinated travelers must present a negative RT-PCR test result taken 72 hours from the point of departure or before arrival.

All traveling individuals must still submit the online BacTrac registration, Online Health Declaration, S-PaSS Travel Permit, and a valid ID.

The economic and business sector sees these quarantine amendments as a way for the economy to recover from the pandemic. The ease of travel restrictions is also a way to improve tourism rates among provincial areas and make way for returning Filipino residents to come home to their families this Christmas season.

Travel Updates and Guidelines: What to bring to enter Bacolod and Negros Occidental

Airlines have eased travel restrictions and updated their guidelines for individuals planning to go home to Bacolod or have a vacation in the City of Smiles. Bacolod City is now under general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions until October 31 until further notice from the government. Negros Occidental province is under GCQ as well.

Philippine Airlines imposes one flight per week only for the Bacolod-Cebu-Bacolod route and two flights per week only for Manila-Bacolod-Manila. For the number of passengers, only 199 people are allowed per flight. [1]

For fully vaccinated individuals, the documents that follow can be sufficient alternatives to any testing requirement upon arrival. The government shall require a vaccination card certified by a vaccination establishment and a certificate of quarantine completion with the individual’s vaccination status. The Bureau of Quarantine should issue this certificate. The inbound passenger will need to undergo health and exposure screening upon arrival in the local government of Bacolod. It also applies to senior citizens who are fully vaccinated.

The last required dose should have been administered two weeks before traveling for a person to be considered fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated individuals traveling to Negros Occidental must comply with an S-PaSS permit or the approved travel coordination permit which is given by the S-PaSS travel management system. Passengers can provide either a soft or hard copy. These individuals shall also ensure that they are registered for the application of contact tracing through A negative RT-PCR test result valid 72 hours before arriving at the destination is also required. The province also offers the Swab and Go or voluntary swabbing for inbound passengers. The provincial government will cover the cost. Individuals who choose to avail of this service are required to undergo quarantine at an LGU quarantine facility or an accredited provincial facility while waiting for the result of their RT-PCR test.

Fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, or unvaccinated passengers bound to Bacolod City, including individuals from Panay and Guimaras, should secure an Online BacTrac registration, Online Health Declaration, an S-PaSS Travel Coordination Permit, and a valid ID.

In addition to the less constricted travel restrictions, passengers aged 18-65 are still permitted to travel regardless of vaccination status.

Mall Vaccination News: Jabs available in almost all malls in Bacolod

Bacolod City Government is working out on adding another vaccination site for the vaccine rollout. A new mall is tapped for the said vaccination drive – 888 Chinatown Square.

One thousand six hundred individuals are targeted to be inoculated in 888 Chinatown Square alone. [2]

Vaccination areas in SM City Bacolod and Ayala Malls are also open to accommodate more individuals who want to be vaccinated. Robinson’s Place Bacolod, City Mall Goldenfield, City Mall Mandalagan, and Gaisano Grand mall are also malls in Bacolod that have vaccination hubs open for the public. The vaccine rollout in 888 Chinatown Square will be held on the weekend until October 24.

Health News: Bacolod Health Bill and Recent COVID-19 cases

The Department of Health or DOH and Lone District Rep. Greg Gasataya is currently establishing a heart and kidney specialty center in Bacolod City for the welfare of the Bacolodnons. [3]

Gasataya has been informed that DOH was in full support of the said initiative. He is thankful to the House Committee on Health and the DOH for their support. He also added that this would also be part of the DOH’s health development plan. [4]

The lone district representative says that with this Bacolod Health Bill, patients in need of delicate procedures are addressed, enabling them to receive quality medical care accessible here in Bacolod and Negros Occidental once the center is established.

As for the latest Covid cases, 184 new cases have been reported in Negros Occidental and 121 new cases in Bacolod City, as of October 17. [5]

Upcoming Holiday Updates: All Saints’ Day 2021

Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia recently issued an executive order to temporarily close cemeteries, memorial parks, and the like from October 30 to November 2 in Bacolod City to ensure public safety. Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson has also ordered the temporary closure of all cemeteries during the said days.

Both government authorities want to ensure the safety of the people and prevent the spread of the still rising cases of COVID-19 in the province and the city.

The governor also ordered comprising cities and municipalities in the province to impose his issued order and coordinate with their respective Disaster Risk Reduction Management government offices. [6] However, Negros Occidental police and security will start to patrol cemeteries starting October 25 to November 4. This is to ensure the safety of the public and to monitor strict compliance with safety protocols during All Saint’s Day. [7]

Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office Spokesperson Lt. Abegael Donasco said in a virtual press briefing that between October 30 and November 2, the police authorities will be on full alert status. Families and friends can pay their visit to their loved ones at earlier dates as long as they follow the restrictions and comply with health and safety protocols.

Visit Yoorekka Consumer Magazine for more travel and COVID-19 updates and guidelines in Bacolod!

All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.


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About Mira Maestrecampo
Mira - with a long surname - is a girl who dreams of becoming a news anchor someday, in God's perfect time. She loves to read books and eat different kinds of cheesy or saucy food. A coffee addict and a dog lover, she loves long hugs, hot coffee on an afternoon break with friends, or simply sleeping all day with her stuffed unicorns.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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