Fasttrack lane for essential personnel exchange between China, PH on hold

Published October 15, 2020, 6:17 PM

by Roy Mabasa

The rollout of a fasttrack lane that would allow essential personnel exchange between the Philippines and China during the pandemic will have to wait until an evaluation is made by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID).

 “The operational details of the fasttrack lane will still have to be fleshed out by the implementing agencies, under the guidance of the IATF on Emerging Infectious Diseases,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said in a brief reply sent to reporters Wednesday. 

A detailed implementing guideline is expected to be announced soon as the DFA said they expect to get more clarity on the matter “in the days to come.” 

Chinese State Counselor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi announced last week that an agreement to adopt a fast lane has been reached shortly after he met DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. 

Locsin flew to China last Friday for a three-day official visit upon the invitation of Wang.

Earlier, the Foreign Affairs department explained that the program will “facilitate, with due safeguards, the movement of essential official exchanges and travel by personnel in crucial industries, such as business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production, and technical services.”

China, through its embassy in Manila, has been calling for the signing of the fast lane agreement to facilitate the completion of several Chinese government-funded infrastructure projects that were stalled due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.