MANILA, Philippines—The Department of the Interior and Local Government on Saturday directed the Philippine National Police to create help desks in its stations nationwide to help stranded individuals and returning overseas Filipino during the lockdown due to COVID-19.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said the help desks should process applications for travel authorities from concerned individuals who would merely wish to return to their homes after being stranded due to the ongoing quarantine.
Stranded individuals must first secure a medical certificate from the municipal or city health office and the travel authority from the PNP before he would be allowed to travel.
Año added that only those with medical certificates from the local government unit would be given travel authority.
Medical certificates will only be given to those who are neither a contact, suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 case and have completed the required 14-day quarantine.
“We want to give everyone a chance to be with their families who’ve been away from their homes because of quarantine. To speed up the process, I’m directing the PNP to establish help desks on every police station in the country,” Año said.
Stranded individuals include Filipino citizens such as construction and domestic workers, tourists, students, and others who are stuck in various places while in transit and want to return to their place of residence.
Foreigners are also classified as locally stranded individuals.
Returning overseas Filipinos include documented and nondocumented OFWs and non-OFWs who are students, diplomats, exchange visitor’s program members, tourists, participants of Philippine government-sponsored programs such as training and scholarships, and dependents and accompanying foreign spouses.
Under the guidelines that the National Task Force Against Covid-19 issued, the local police chief is responsible for issuing travel authorities to all stranded individuals moving from one barangay to another inside the same municipality or city.
Provincial police directors are the ones who will issue the travel authority meant for travel between municipalities or cities and the police regional directors will grant the said documents for province-to-province and region-to-region movement.
The medical certificates should also be presented to PNP help desks, checkpoints, and the LGU of the final destination.
Returning overseas Filipinos, meanwhile, should present a travel authority issued by the JTF CV Shield and a negative RT-PCR result and a quarantine certification issued by the Bureau of Quarantine at quarantine control points (QCPs) or upon entry at the receiving LGU.
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