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 (OFWs) and foreign investors.
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 countries.
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 said.
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.