The city government here will continue to accommodate Safe, Swift, and Smart Passage (S-PaSS) applications of airline passengers, although a travel coordination permit is no longer required for those bound for Bacolod.
This developed after the Negros Occidental provincial government, which has jurisdiction over Silay City, where the Bacolod-Silay Airport is located, mandated the submission of S-PaSS by passengers passing through the province going to this capital city.
While waiting for legal advice from the city government, Councilor Israel Salanga, chair of the action team on returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), said on Wednesday the S-PaSS requirement be resumed in compliance with the “demand” of the provincial government.
“As much as we wanted to make things easy for you, the airport in Silay is under the jurisdiction of the province, that’s why their (order) should be followed instead,” Salanga said in a Facebook post, addressing the returning OFWs.
He said those flying home to Bacolod can fill out the S-PaSS form a day before the date of travel.
“We assure you that we will approve it immediately until such time there is an update,” he added.
Councilor Cindy Rojas, chair of the action team for non-OFW returning residents, said on Tuesday her office will continue to approve all S-PaSS applications being required by the airlines.
Rojas said the removal of the S-PaSS requirement, as provided in Executive Order 53 issued by Mayor Evelio Leonardia after the city was placed under Alert Level 2 until November 30, is a way of making things easier for returning residents.
The contrasting policies of the province and the city had led to differing opinions between its officials after Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz II said the lifting of S-PaSS requirement is “not legal” and such policy is “misleading” and “confusing”.
Former city administrator Em Ang, who now sits as executive director of Bacolod City Emergency Operations Center, called Diaz’s stance “a power play and under-handed tactic” and “a clear disrespect” of Leonardia’s EO 53.
Source: Philippines News Agency