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The Philippines’ DOST endorses online travel platform

To ensure smooth passage when crossing at the borders of the local government units (LGUs) the Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Region 1 urged the residents to seek an S-PaSS code.

The S-PaSS, which stands for Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage, is a one-stop-shop online travel management system platform for communication and coordination among travellers and local government units (LGU’s). This S-PaSS will assist travellers in knowing the travel policies and seeking the travel requirements being imposed by almost 1,800 LGU’s all over the country this time of the pandemic.

To use the S-PaSS, travellers just need to register online using their mobile number at the S-PaSS website. The website features a list of more than 60 provinces, cities, and municipalities with their respective policies and requirements for the travelling public. With the platform, LGU’s can inform the public if their areas are classified as “restricted” or “unrestricted” for travel.

Travellers going to “restricted” areas are directed to create an account on the S-PaSS’s website and submit an online application for a Travel Coordination Permit (TCP), which is equivalent to the previously mandated travel authority. The approval of the TCP will depend on the LGU-destination 

Meanwhile, travellers going to “unrestricted” areas, especially if they need to go through places classified as “restricted,” must secure a Travel Pass-Through Permit (TPP).

Both permits contain QR codes that will be scanned by authorised personnel of the LGU, or the Philippine National Police (PNP) deployed at the border checkpoint.

Technologists from the DOST Region 6 developed the S-PaSS travel management system to provide the LGUs with real-time monitoring of all incoming travellers to the respective localities while the system will also provide the travellers with their travel history.

Recently, Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson issued Executive Order No. 22, Series of 2021, institutionalising the use of the S-PaSS code before entering the province.

DOST clarified that the S-PaSS is not a contact tracing app as this will intend to be used before and during the actual travel. The S-PaSS is not a contract tracing system like the StaySafe.ph which is a community-driven contact tracing, health condition reporting and social distancing system being adopted by LGUs and approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the agency.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, The S-PaSS​ is also meant to benefit not only the travellers but also the authorities to properly monitor the movement of people in different locations in the effort to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Moreover, rapid adoption of digital technologies can help the Philippines overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, recover from the crisis, and achieve its vision of becoming a middle-class society free of poverty, according to the report released by the World Bank and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The report stated that this pandemic has caused substantial disruptions in the domestic economy as community restrictions have limited the movement of people and reduced business operations nationwide. As we are now living with the new normal, the use of digital technology and digital transformation has become important for Filipinos in coping with the present crisis, moving towards economic recovery, and getting back on track towards the nation’s long-term aspirations.

Although most governments throughout South-East Asia are gradually moving towards complete digitalisation, they are all at very different stages of their digital transformation journey. It is also likely that Governments of the future will increase spending on digital infrastructure, adopt data-driven approaches in response to economic recovery, and leverage technology solutions to implement COVID-19 strategies.

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