DOH to review ‘cumbersome’ online screening for travelers
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) has instructed the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) to review the content of One Health Pass (OHP), an online screening system for international travelers, amid calls from a senator to lift its implementation.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire, the officer in charge of the DOH, said the long list of details being required by the OHP can be “inconvenient” to passengers.
“When we reviewed the content of OHP, we saw that too many details were being required of our passengers,” said Vergeire. “Aside from submitting the requirements online, international travelers still have to go through the BOQ validation in our airports, which has caused long lines and delays.”
On Monday, Sen. Nancy Binay, chair of the Senate committee on tourism, called for the suspension of the OHP “amid mounting complaints from travelers over the inconvenience of the screening system.”
The senator added that the OHP also makes travel difficult for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and returning Filipinos, a “hassle,” especially for those already cleared after quarantine and had been fully vaccinated.
“From the tourism lens, we might be turning away potential guests because of this added bureaucratic layer whose effectiveness isn’t even guaranteed,” the senator said.
Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian had also called the OHP system “cumbersome and an added red tape especially to tourists and foreign business people” who are planning to visit the country, and thus “should be scrapped immediately.”
Vergeire said the DOH would meet with other implementing agencies, including the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Department of Tourism, on Thursday to discuss how to “further streamline the process” and make it more convenient.
Starting in September 2021, the BOQ and the DOTr-One Stop Shop have required the OHP as a way to process the mandatory health protocols and quarantine requirements of international travelers from their departure at their point of origin to their arrival and other onward destinations in the Philippines.
According to the OHP website, international inbound travelers are required to register on the system at least two days prior to their arrival in the Philippines. Proof of OHP registration will then be checked prior to flight boarding.
The two-page online questionnaire asks for their flight details, personal profile, and health and vaccination status. It also asks for the passenger’s occupation, the purpose of the visit, PhilHealth number, and residence details.
A personal QR code will then be issued to successful registrants. The code will be checked twice: during flight onboarding and upon arrival at the airport.
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