Wait, wait—Roque says LGUs have to follow IATF guidelines regarding swab test requirements, so…

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang video
Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque. Screenshot from Radio Television Malacañang video

Over the last few days, we heard from presidential spokesperson Harry Roque say that proof of vaccination would do instead of an RT-PCR test to satisfy interzonal travel requirements, confirming the resolution handed down by theInter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).

And then some local government units raised their concerns about relaxing the rules, so yesterday the Department of Health released a statement saying that LGUs may continue to require swab tests for incoming travelers, saying that the IATF’s first resolution would remain in effect.


Also read: Vaccinated travelers still need RT-PCR tests if LGUs require it, clarifies DOH


And now, during a press briefing earlier today, July 8, Roque again appeared to roll back the rollback, saying that the IATF’s resolution is binding on LGUs. “Ang IATF resolutions are resolutions adopted for and in behalf of the President in the exercise of police power. That’s binding on all unless you declare yourself to be an independent republic,” Roque said in response to a question from a Palace reporter.

Roque acknowledged that the IATF would take the LGUs’ concerns into account, but that the agency’s decisions would have to remain active. “Pero hanggang mag-decide pong baguhin ng IATF ang mga patakaran, kinakailangan ipatupad po muna,” Roque said. (“But until the IATF decides to change the guidelines, they need to be implemented”.)

Roque went on to say that the IATF will meet again this afternoon, and discuss these concerns. The Malacañang spokesperson did not mention the DOH’s earlier advisory upholding the decision of the LGUs.

So what’s the final word? It looks like we have to stay tuned a little longer to find out.


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