The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) develops the Safe, Swift and Smart Passage or S-PaSS, as it consistently holds to its mission of leading and coordinating the country’s scientific and technological efforts for the benefit of the whole community. It was launched on March 26, 2021, thru the DOST-Philippines Facebook page.
S-PaSS is an online system primarily intended to efficiently manage travels of Filipino Local Workers, Returning Overseas Filipinos (ROFS), tourists, and others. It can be utilized in 2 ways: as a Travel Management System which is a convenient online communication and coordination platform for travelers, Local Government Units, and other monitoring agencies, and as a Local Mobility Management System which replaces the use of pen-and-paper logbooks for visitors and personnel of offices, schools, and other public facilities.
For Travelers, accessible information on the travel policies of all LGUs particularly when traveling by air and sea can be obtained. Usually, a health declaration form/medical certificate or a Travel Authority or both is needed for the traveler to pass through borders. Sometimes, it can be confusing to those who travel for work, vacation, or business as each LGU has their own list of guidelines. But with S-PaSS, the needed requirements can be identified easily. The travelers can be guided whether the area of destination is ‘Restricted’ or ‘Unrestricted’, which is duly updated by the LGUs responsible. If the LGU is on a ‘Restricted’ level, a ‘Travel Coordination Permit (TCP)’ should be applied, however, if the LGU was declared as ‘Unrestricted’, yet, you will be passing through ‘Restricted’ LGUs, a ‘Travel Pass-Through Permit (TPP)’ should be generated and presented. S-PaSS is to be used before and during actual travel unlike other contact tracing applications that are intended to be used all the time even if the traveler does not go into a trip.
For LGUs, this is beneficial in organizing and ensuring a systematic way of posting information about their travel policies and requirements. They do not need a handful of documents and personal interactions as they can be processed online. This ensures a smooth flow of updating the needed requirements per LGU, the moment it declares a "Restricted" travel policy. They can also verify the authenticity of documents, monitor and generate records of incoming travelers along with their travel histories, which could be useful in facilitating close coordination among Provincial, and City/Municipal LGUs.
To assist in the implementation of the system, the Philippine National Police can guide residents going to other LGUs in applying for travel documents when needed, help the LGUs in monitoring travelers in their territories, and verify the authenticity of travel documents presented.
Also, Monitoring Agencies can monitor the travelers and generate a report at the municipal, provincial, regional, and national levels for monitoring and planning purposes.
At the moment, the system is strongly recommended for its Travel Management System utilization.
For Region 1, all provinces (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan) have already activated their S-PaSS accounts and Travel Policies.
To fully maximize the features of the S-PaSS, DOST encourages travelers to register by logging in to https://s-pass.ph and register using personal mobile numbers. From there, the documents required by the LGU of destination and their restrictions on travel can be viewed. For TCPs, it can be submitted through the website. Most LGUs have contact numbers for easy coordination and verification of the status of TCP approval. It is advisable that travelers apply 1-2 days before their trip as the duration of approval depends on the LGU and not the system itself.
To date, as of April 27, 2021, there are already 646,638 registered users of the system nationwide, with 86,944 coming from Region 1. More than half of the provinces in the Philippines, which amounts to 69% of the total number, utilize the S-PaSS for their monitoring and border control.
The success in the full and smooth implementation of the system relies on the responsible contribution and action of the traveler, LGUs, PNP, and monitoring agencies. There should be a mutual effort among these parties to achieve the continuous application of the system and its utmost goal. With this, more developments and innovations can be productively generated to gear the country in maximizing the advantage of science and technology for the people.