Gov’t simplifies S-Pass use for local travel

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has simplified the use of the travel management system Safe, Swift and Smart Passage (S-Pass) to ease application of requirements for local trips.

Together with other government agencies, ARTA signed and launched Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1, series of 2022, or the “Streamlining of Requirements and Processes for Local Travel” on Wednesday directing all local government units (LGUs) to use S-Pass for the application and approval of travelers in their respective areas.

The JMC targets the S-Pass as a one-stop shop solution to scrap the varying and cumbersome travel requirements for travelers and different online applications used by LGUs. Under the JMC, LGUs should also integrate their contact tracing apps with S-Pass to have an inter-operable travel management and contact tracing system for domestic travel.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has welcomed this development that will help stimulate local tourism. “As the economy reopens, we want to make mobility and travel accessible and convenient for everyone, not frustrating and cumbersome,” she said in a recorded message for the event’s ceremonial launch.

The JMC also orders LGUs to monitor and process on a day-to-day basis to approve or reject applications they receive through the S-Pass. “LGUs are given 24 hours to approve or deny applications, including weekends,” ARTA Deputy Director General Ernesto Perez said.

Perez added that if the LGU failed to act on the application within 24 hours, it will be automatically approved given that the applicant provided all the requirements indicated in the S-Pass.

Among the requirements indicated in the S-Pass are vaccination card or certificate, government issued identification cards, and confirmation of accommodation at the point of destination.

Depending on the Covid-19 situation, some LGUs require negative results of Covid-19 tests. (PNA)