Recto urges gov't to 'unburden' police from COVID-19 travel pass duties

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 19 2020 05:46 PM

A police official speaks to a motorist at a checkpoint in San Pedro, Laguna on March 15, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto on Friday urged the government to "unburden" police officers from the duty of issuing travel passes as law enforcers "have far more important responsibilities" that doing "clerical jobs."

Police officers have been tapped to issue travel passes for those traveling across regions and provinces to ensure that possible carriers of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) would not bring the virus to other parts of the country.

"The most important requirement is the medical certificate issued by a public health doctor. The pass issued by the police has no probative value," Recto said in a statement.

"This unnecessary document draws away our depleted police force from the frontlines and their principal job," he said.

The executive branch should review its policy on the issuance of travel permits from police offices as "it is both a hassle to the pass giver and the pass holder," the senator said.

Local government units should also avoid tapping police to help in the distribution of relief goods in communities.

"So on top of being a travel visa center, they're also a pera padala (money remittance) force," he said.
 
Law enforcers are deployed in several regional borders as the Philippines continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of June 19, the Philippines has logged 661 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of coronavirus patients to 28,459.