The Department of Health plans to recommend the removal of mandatory swab testing for inbound travelers who have been fully vaccinated in the Philippines.
Under the existing policy, arriving individuals must undergo a 10-day quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated abroad.
They will be tested for the coronavirus disease on the 7th day.
“Ganiyan din po ang ating irerekomenda sa mga Pilipinong nag-vaccine abroad pero hindi pa po natin yan nafa-finalize,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said in a virtual press conference.
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“Unti-unti po ang pagluwag para sa mga fully vaccinated until we reach that coverage na magiging safe na ang ating mga kababayan kahit hindi na natin sila tine-test,” she said.
Early this week, Senate President Tito Sotto is calling on the national government to rethink its policies for returning Filipinos.
Sotto said that one of the staff at the Senate spent at least Php80,000 for her mandatory quarantine.
Sotto, together with other senators, wants to find a middle ground for quarantine guidelines for returning Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers.
“We have received feedback from returning Filipinos that they are forced to shell out tens of thousands of pesos for the mandatory 14-day quarantine and swab testing before they are allowed to go home or proceed to their city or province of destination. This is not only inconvenient but unnecessary as well,” Sotto said in a statement.
“Ang laki ng ginagastos ng ating mga kababayan na umuuwi dito sa ating bansa na nagnanais lamang na makasama ang kanilang mga pamilya. Hindi ito katanggap-tanggap. Kung hindi kaya ng gobyerno na sagutin ang gastusin para sa quarantine and swab testing requirements, kailangan nilang i-adjust ang guidelines nang sa gayon ay hindi naman masyadong mabigat sa bulsa ang pagsunod sa mga patakaran ng pamahalaan,” he added.
Sotto appealed to the IATF and other relevant agencies to also plan ahead for OFWs who will come back home during the Christmas season.
“I appeal to the IATF together with DOLE, DFA and OWWA to sit down with our OFW groups and formulate an “Oplan Pasko” so that our OFWs come home this Christmas,” he added.
He also urged the government to look at the United States’ policy on inbound travelers and possibly adopt a similar system.
“Pag-aralan natin kung maaaring ma-adopt natin ang ganitong sistema. Sa ganitong paraan, mas maraming mae-engganyo ang galing sa ibang bansa na wala masyadong kaso ng Covid-19 ang pumunta na dito sa ating bansa. Makatutulong ito sa mas mabilis na economic recovery ng Pilipinas,” Sotto said. (TDT)