Vaccination cards won’t replace RT-PCR testing as a travel requirement as previously reported.
In another case of the government retracting a previous statement, the Department of Health clarified that local government units may still require a negative RT-PCR test result for incoming tourists.
Speaking to ABS-CBN’s DZMM Teleradyo, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that existing policies will still be enforced until the task force has finalized the resolution.
“Bago niyan, ang dati nating resolution ay meron tayong testing… Sa ngayon, ibabalik muna natin doon (testing requirement) hangga’t sa maayos natin bukas, matapos ang usapin kung kinakailangan amiyendahan pa itong Resolution Number 124-B,” Duque said per ABS-CBN News.
“This means LGU can still require testing as a requirement to entry. Status quo po tayo,” he added.
This clarification comes after the local chief executives expressed their concern on Inter-Agency Task Force Resolution (IATF) No. 124-B, which cites that those who have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine may opt to present their vaccination card or quarantine certification in lieu of undergoing mandatory RT-PCR testing for inter-zonal travel.
For some LGU leaders, the resolution was rushed and failed to consult individual government units, several of which used different vaccination cards.
Likewise, Department of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat also issued a clarification of her own, spelling out that the presented plan is only “an alternative” for LGUs to consider.
“‘Yun lang ay alternative sa RT-PCR test, it’s really up to the kung mag-de-decide sila kung instead of fully-vaccinated, RT-PCR test na lang ang gagamitin,” Romulo-Puyat told ABS-CBN’s DZMM Teleradyo per another report by ABS-CBN News.
Leaders of the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) and the League of Provinces of the Philippines are set to join the IATF in a meeting on Thursday, July 8, to settle the matter.
Nonetheless, some local governments have expressly allowed the presentation of an inoculation card for incoming tourists. In Baguio, fully-vaccinated leisure travelers may forego the required RT-PCR testing by instead presenting proof of their complete vaccination.
However, due to eased entry, local chief executive Benjamin Magalong has said that the city will maintain a daily limit of 3,000 tourists as a precaution.
Meanwhile, the provincial government of La Union has also permitted the entry of fully-vaccinated individuals, offering them the option to present their vaccination card instead of a negative RT-PCR test result.