By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson batted Monday for a vaccine passport system
that will make traveling to the Philippines easier for vaccinated
people, especially for returning overseas Filipino workers and foreign
Lacson said many returning OFWs and foreign investors are reluctant to
come to the Philippines because of tight protocols, especially those
that may require them to spend more than a week in a quarantine
facility not necessarily of their choice.
“For our returning OFWs, at most, we might require them to take a swab
test then allow them to go home, then require them to stay at home for
10 days. No need to require them to stay at a hotel. Most of the time,
OFWs return to the country because of an emergency. But if you are an
OFW and you are required to be quarantined for 10 days, how many days
of your leave will go to waste? I don’t think that makes sense,” he
said in an interview on ANC.
“Also, our tourism sector and investment will suffer. If a potential
investor who would like to come here learns of the requirements that
include a swab test and stay at a quarantine facility, not of his or
her choice, would he or she still come?” he added.
He urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging
Infectious Diseases to fine-tune the protocols that will address these
problems and make sure the protocols are in sync with those of other
Lacson also stressed anew the need to allow local government officials
and other implementers of health protocols on the ground to have
enough leeway to do their job.
He noted that while IATF protocols allow the inoculation of those 40
and up, those a few months short of 40 could be allowed to get the jab
especially if the facility is not too crowded.
“Perhaps our regulations should be a bit open-ended instead of being
too restrictive, to allow those on the ground to make decisions,” he
Meanwhile, Lacson batted for more solutions in the rollout of
vaccines, including the cold chain storage system, to prevent the
commodity from spoiling.
“We are getting information that some vaccines are spoiled due to the
mishandled cold chain facility. These are issues the appropriate
authorities must address so we can accelerate our efforts toward herd
immunity,” he said. (AI/MTVN)