Davao Occidental imposes ‘No Vax, No Entry’ travel policy

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 24 January) –The Provincial Government of Davao Occidental has closed its borders to individuals who have not been inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccine.

This after Governor Claude Bautista signed Executive Order (EO) 001, Series of 2022, on Friday, January 21, entitled “Guidelines on quarantine, isolation, testing and other measures for COVID-19 response in the Province of Davao Occidental,” which, among others, imposes the “No Vax, No Entry” policy. 

The measure restricts entry into the province for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals, except for returning overseas Filipinos (ROFs) and locally stranded individuals (LSIs) who have already contacted their barangays for transportation arrangements.

According to the EO, the border checkpoint will require the following from travelers: 

  • Travel documents such as letter of acceptance for LSIs and ROFs, booking confirmations for tourists, and documents such as travel itineraries, office orders, travel orders, and confirmation letter of activity;
  • Negative RT-PCR results taken in the last 72 hours prior to entry or negative rapid antigen test;
  • Vaccination cards with complete doses and additional booster dose;
  • Valid identification cards;
  • Stay Safe QR code or CCTS QR code;
  • And, travel manifesto. 

The EO considers individuals vaccinated if they meet the following conditions: 

  • If it has been two weeks after they received their second-dose in a two-dose series
  • If it has been the same period after they received a single-dose vaccine. 

Prince Paraiso, provincial health education and promotion officer, told MindaNews in an interview on Monday that the province is taking proactive measures to prevent further infection among its residents.

Pababalikin ka po (You will be turned away),” he said when asked about travelers entering the province who have not been injected against COVID-19.

As of Monday, the province recorded 88 active COVID-19 cases, Paraiso said. 

At least two residents of Davao Occidental were identified as among the first five Omicron variant cases in Region XI, the Department of Health said.

Both cases were fully vaccinated individuals with no history of international travel.

One is a 28-year-old female swabbed last December 11; the other case is a 63-year-old who was swabbed last December 16.

Both cases were residents of Jose Abad Santos, the Provincial Health Office reported. 

Paraiso said the province was preparing in case it gets upgraded from its current Alert Level 2 to a higher alert level status. 

“We’re just protecting our residents,” Paraiso said of the province’s “No Vax, No Entry” border measures. 

For its part, the Police Regional Office XI said it was preparing its personnel to check on visitors to the province if they have complete documents. 

Atty. Eudisan Gultiano, PRO XI spokesperson, said the police are ready to implement the EO.

Earlier, the regional police office said it would only require vaccination cards at border points if the local government unit releases a mandate, such as an executive order or ordinance requiring proof of vaccination. 

The PRO-XI has implemented a localized “No Vax, No Entry” policy on its facilities, such as camps and police stations. 

Unvaccinated individuals are catered outside police camps and stations, Gultiano said. (Yas D. Ocampo / MindaNews)