DILG to LGUs: Don’t charge individuals high fees for medical certificates

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 23) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) appealed to local government units not to impose hefty fees for medical certificates, which stranded individuals need in order to return home.

In a Laging Handa virtual briefing on Saturday, DILG Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya made the plea in light of reports of some LGUs charging individuals up to ₱3,000 for medical certification.

"Kaya nga po gustong umuwi na nitong mga ito dahil wala na nga po silang pangtustos sa kanilang pang-araw-araw dahil sila nga po ay stranded," said Malaya. "At kung stranded na nga po sila ay hihingan pa natin sila ng napakalaking halaga eh that defeats the entire purpose of seeking a medical certification."

[Translation: The reason why they want to go home is because they cannot cater to their daily (needs) anymore since they are stranded. And if we still charge them a huge fee while they're stranded, that defeats the entire purpose of seeking a medical certification.]

Medical certificates are secured from the city or municipal health office, the official explained.

The certificate must indicate that the individual is not a suspect, probable, or confirmed COVID-19 case and has undergone 14-day quarantine in line with the Health Department's protocols. If the person has tested positive for the disease before, the certificate must indicate they are already negative for COVID-19 after having gone through two RT-PCR tests.

"[P]ag hawak niyo na po itong medical certificate na ito ay pwede niyo na pong dalhin ito doon sa help desk ng PNP at dun niyo naman is-sumite ito para mabigyan kayo ng travel authority," said Malaya.

[Translation: Once you already have a medical certificate, you may now bring it to a PNP (Philippine National Police) help desk and submit it there so that you may be given travel authority.]

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered the provision of help desks for stranded individuals in all police stations nationwide, Malaya added.

Stranded individuals need to present both documents to their LGUs in order to gain entry to their respective cities and municipalities, he said.

Metro Manila, Central Luzon (Region III) except Tarlac and Aurora, and Laguna are under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) until May 31, while Cebu City and Mandaue City are under ECQ. All other areas are under the more relaxed general community quarantine until the end of May.