Ipinagtanggol ng Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) ang kanilang pasya na tanggalin at luwagan ang ilang mga health protocols at requirements sa gitna ng COVID-19 pandemic.
Sa isang pahayag, nilinaw ni DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya na ang RT-PCR test ay hindi kailanman naging requirement ng national government bagkus ito lamang ay sa mga lokal na pamahalaan.
“We wish to clarify that the PCR test was never a requirement by the national government. It was some LGUs who required it. Now, under the new protocols, the PCR test may still be required by the LGU of destination,” saad ni Malaya.
“Travelers just need to check with their LGU if it’s required. But please take note that LGUs can only require the RT-PCR test and cannot require the Antigen or rapid tests as requirement for travel,” dagdag nito.
Sa pag-alis naman ng quarantine requirement, binigyang-diin ni Malaya na kinonsulta nila ang mga health proferssionals at iminungkahi nila na hindi na oobligahin ang mga biyahero na sumailalim sa quarantine.
Tanging mga biyahero lamang na magpapakita ng sintomas ng virus ang isasailalim sa quarantine sa mga nakalaang pasilidad sa mga LGU.
“Therefore, the health assessment of passengers or travelers supervised by medical professionals shall be mandatory upon entry in the port/terminal and exit at point of destination,” ani Malaya.
Una rito, binatikos ni Vice President Leni Robredo ang pag-alis sa quarantine at testing protocols, at inihayag na posibleng mauwi ito sa pagtaas ng bilang ng mga kaso ng COVID-19.
Pero ayon kay Malaya, wala raw sa lugar ang banat na ito ng pangalawang pangulo.
“When the Vice President said that it was the Locally Stranded Individuals who were responsible for the spread of COVID to the provinces, this was in the early days of the pandemic when our infection rates were high and compliance with minimum health standards were very low,” sabi ni Malaya.
“A year later, compliance is now high, our active cases are low, and our people know what to do to protect themselves and their families,” dagdag nito.