Despite grievances, Cebu implements ‘no work travel pass, no entry to Cebu City’ order
CEBU CITY – Stephanie (not her real name) badly needed to work to earn money for her family.
But the worker from a town in Cebu province was not able to go to work on Wednesday since she did not have a work travel pass (WTP) issued by the provincial government to enable her to cross to Cebu City.
She said she has complied with all the requirements and has been trying to secure the pass through WeTrace, a local application designed for contact tracing, as mandated by Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia.
“I’ve been waiting for two days now but my application for a WTP remains pending,” said the woman who opted not to reveal her identity.
Many other workers expressed disgust over downloading the WeTrace application due to online lags, difficulty in uploading of requirements, denied working passes, and incompatibility issues, among others.
Some do not have smartphones that are used to download the application.
Despite the grievances, Garcia pushed through with the implementation of the “no work travel pass, no entry to Cebu City” on Wednesday.
Col. Roderick Mariano, director of the Cebu Provincial Police Office, said many workers from Cebu province were able to cross the borders to the city after presenting their WTP through their smartphones.
“The first day of the scheme’s implementation was smooth,” he told the Inquirer.
But some policemen told him that they don’t have smartphones to scan the QR or Quick Response code of the worker’s WTP to make sure they were authentic.
“Perhaps, the provincial government could provide our policemen who don’t have smartphones with one,” Mariano said.
Garcia advised workers to comply with her directive otherwise they won’t be able to work in Cebu City.
“If they have not yet secured a work travel pass through the WeTrace app, they can always wait until they can secure one. Because if they plan to work, they will be checked if they pass by any border towards Cebu City,” she said in a media briefer at the Capitol.
“Why are we asking for a work travel pass? Because before, when we asked only for certificate of employment and company ID in our borders, the number of positive cases in Cebu shot to 500 percent,” she added.
Garcia said those without smartphones can approach their respective municipal governments so they can be issued with a work travel pass.
According to Garcia’s Executive Order 20-C, workers have to send scanned copies of their medical certificates, company identification (ID) card, certificate of employment, and an ID picture to WeTrace so they can have a WTP.
Once approved, the WTP will be sent to the mobile device of the worker who will present this to quarantine checkpoints between the province and city of Cebu which was once considered a coronavirus hot spot.
The WTP issued to a worker must include his or her name, photo, address, company name, point of origin, point of destination, the local chief executive’s signature, QR code, and control number.
The provincial government assigns the control numbers.
Garcia said workers with WTPs cannot go anywhere else after their duties are over since their route is from their point of origin to their point of destination (workplace) and vice versa.
The workers’ bluetooth and location must be on at all times.
“A worker who deviates from his or her regular route shall warrant the revocation of their WTP,” according to EO 20-C.
Before the WTP is revoked, the LGU must conduct an investigation on the worker.
Exemptions from using WeTrace and its accompanying WTP include Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR), healthcare workers, and other frontliners, among others.
WeTrace was developed for free by Eddie Ybañez, a Cebuano scholar of the Department of Science and Technology.
Garcia said registering through the WeTrace app could help in the contact tracing efforts if ever a worker gets sick of COVID-19.
Cebu province is currently under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) except for Talisay City and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion which are under general community quarantine (GCQ).
Cebu City, as well as the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, on the other hand, are under GCQ.
Mayor Edgardo Labella said he wanted Cebu City to remain under GCQ after Aug. 15 so the local government unit would have a better control of the movement of people.
Whether the city is put under GCQ or MGCQ, Labella urged people to always follow the health protocols to slow down the COVID-19.
“Let us not be complacent because the fight is not yet over. We are still in the middle of this pandemic so we have to impose to ourselves self discipline,” he said./with reports from Dale Israel, Inquirer Visayas
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