DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The implementation of the food and medicine (FM) pass here has been suspended temporarily amid changes in protocols to address the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Government of Davao’s Executive Order 12 for this year announced that “the use of the FM pass and other documents for travel/movement shall be temporarily suspended and the DQR shall be the only document that will be used to access goods and essential services” effective on Monday, March 15, as part of the updated COVID-19 protocols in the city.

The FM pass was first implemented during the enhanced community quarantine in Davao last April to limit one person per household to leave his or her residence for essential activities. It was suspended after the ECQ was lifted in June, but was re-implemented in October amid rising cases of COVID-19 in the city.

The office of the Vice Mayor pushed for a new FM pass system late last year using a color-coding scheme for the city’s three districts, and to accommodate persons who have either lost their previous FM pass and those who have entered the city after the ECQ.

The imposition of the FM pass was met with complaints over confusion of many required documents for residents including the QR Code.

Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio explained in her Special Hour program on Davao City Disaster Radio DCDR 87.5 FM that the suspension of the FM pass and the use of the QR code is “…to avoid confusion from the public. We aligned our protocols according to the existing guidelines of the IATF,” she explained.

The Safe Davao QR (DQR) code will now serve as contact tracing and travel pass platform for entry and exit to Davao City.

The DQR is also set to be integrated into the StaySafe.ph contact tracing application which is expected to be launched in the next few days.

Contact tracing efforts however, have remained the weakest point in the government’s pandemic response, this was admitted by Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque.

A local official in charge of the DQR also said in an interview with DCDR on Monday that only 15% of the city’s establishments have implemented the DQR system. He said the DQR code mobile application can now be downloaded through mobile phone downloads Google Play for Android phone users and Apple App Store for iPhone users. (davaotoday.com)

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