Ilocos Norte eases travel guidelines
The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte has relaxed its pandemic travel restrictions, reducing COVID-19 test requirements and encouraging minimized movement for all inbound residents and travelers since quarantine has been lifted.
Awaiting to issue the Executive Order of the new guidelines, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc has temporarily released the travel rules on the Provincial Government Page last March 6, 2021, which took effect immediately.
“I admit that I have been cautious and perhaps overemphasized the health and safety of all. For burdening the good people of Ilocos Norte, I am deeply sorry. I try to ask though for your understanding,” Governor Manotoc remarked during his recent press briefing.
“This is what I see as a reasonable compromise for all of us to move forward,” he added.
Under the new guidelines, Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFs) are required to present a negative RT-PCR test issued within 60 hours of arrival at the provincial borders. Locally Stranded Individuals (LSIs) coming from high-risk areas are required to submit a negative RT-PCR test with swab collected within 60 hours or undergo a Rapid Antigen test at the border upon arrival. If the point of origin is in low-risk areas, LSIs are strongly encouraged, but not required, to present either of the said two tests.
Meanwhile, Exiting Residents going to ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ areas for less than 48 hours are not obliged to present a negative COVID-19 test, likewise with Residents traveling to or working in MGCQ areas. On the contrary, Residents traveling to ECQ, MECQ, and GCQ areas for over 48 hours are mandated to provide a negative RT-PCR test issued within 60 hours of arrival or an Antigen test swab collected within 24 hours.
The same guidelines are applied to APOR and IT- Non-Ilocos Norte Residents whose purposes are to visit the province. However, the time restriction is condensed to seven (7) hours.
Non-resident APORs and IT coming from high-risk areas are compelled to present a negative RT-PCR test regardless of the length of stay, whereas those from low-risk areas who are staying in the province beyond seven (7) hours must provide a negative test result.
“Basta may negative test, kahit sino, they will not be forced to quarantine. Instead, they will be strongly encouraged, especially our ROFs and those coming from high-risk areas, to minimize movement for one week,” Governor Manotoc urged.
He further stated that the Provincial Government will subsidize the testing costs of displaced and indigent ROFs and LSIs.
Moreover, Ilocos Norte has opened its borders to leisure travelers all over the country. Visitors from ECQ, GCQ, and MGCQ requiring special attention must submit a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours, while those from MGCQ must undergo a Rapid Antigen test upon arrival.
Tourists are advised to register at ilocosnorte.ph, generate their SafePass QR Code and have a confirmed booking in accredited accommodation or travel agencies only.— Blessing Angel V. Agliam, PGIN-