Leonardia writes DILG as S-PaSS dispute continues

City PIO photo

Flags carrier Philippine Airlines has apparently submitted to what passengers described as the “whims” of Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II and the provincial government for insisting that an S-Pass (Safe, Swift and Smart Passage) is required when Bacolod-bound travelers land at the Bacolod-Silay Airport, a press release from the Bacolod City Government said.

Not only that. In its policy directed at passengers going to Bacolod, PAL also advised them to fill out as their address “Barangay Airport, Silay City” to comply with the Capitol order.

Executive Director Em Legaspi-Ang of Bacolod’s Emergency Operations Center-Task Force, pointed out that the PAL memo, which many called a “joke”, is tantamount to instructing inbound travelers to lie by supplying fake or false information on an official government platform.

Sadly, it leaves a bad taste on the mouth, Ang said.

Following the National Inter-Agency Task Force move downgrading Bacolod’s status from Alert Level 4 to Alert Level 2 from Nov. 15-30, Mayor Evelio Leonardia issued Executive Order No. 53 that no longer requires an S-Pass for Bacolod-bound travelers as the national government also relaxed people’s movements and other restrictions under the new Alert Level System.

While Capitol, upon the orders of Diaz, is making it hard for Bacolod-bound travelers by insisting for an S-Pass when their entry point is the Bacolod-Silay Airport, Negrenses traveling by boat from Panay or Manila through the BREDCO Port in Bacolod do not encounter any inconvenience because Leonardia’s EO No. 53 does not require an S-Pass, the press release said.

Fully-vaccinated travelers to Bacolod are only required to show their vaccination cards.
If we can give them comfort and hassle-free policy, why not? After all, Bacolod’s status is our re Alert Level 2, Ang argued.

Leonardia formally wrote the airline management and provided them copies of EO No. 53.

The mayor also sent a letter to Regional Director Juan Jovian Ingeniero of the Department of Interior and Local Government to help resolve the issue.

Ingeniero, also the concurrent chair of the RIATF in Western Visayas, assured the city government that he will attend immediately to the concern regarding S-Pass that already inconvenienced hundreds of Bacolodnons who vented their ire against Diaz and the Capitol policy on social media.

In his letter to the DILG, a copy of which was furnished Health Secretary and NIATF Chairman Francisco Duque, Leonardia stressed the LGU’s travel policy contained in EO No. 53.

He further pointed out that Bacolod, as a highly-urbanized city, does not belong under the political jurisdiction of the provincial government and is, therefore, in dependent and not covered by Capitol’s policies.

“Bacolod is independent from the province being an HUC. The reason why Bacolod accelerated its development and growth rapidly,” Leonardia added.*

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