Lacson pushes for vaccine passports prioritizing OFWs, foreign investors
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday renewed his call for the creation of a COVID-19 vaccine passport system that would make traveling efficient for both Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) and foreign investors, as long as they are vaccinated.
Lacson said that both OFWs and foreign investors are hesitant to come to the country due to tight protocols that force them to spend more than a week in a quarantine facility.
“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,” he said in an interview on ABS-CBN News Channel.
“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 added.
According to Lacson, these protocols would also affect the tourism industry since it would push foreign investors away.
“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 said.
The senator also urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to tweak the country’s protocols in order for them to be in sync with the protocols in other countries.
Lacson further stressed the need for local government officials along with other implementers of health protocols to be given enough leeway to do their job on the ground.
He also called for more solutions in terms of the vaccine rollout in the country, including a cold chain storage system in order to avoid any spoilage of vaccines.
“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. — Sofia Vertucio, Inquirer trainee
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