BI backs COVID-19 passport

Published December 14, 2020, 12:42 PM

by Jun Ramirez

The Bureau of Immigration has welcomed proposals to introduce a COVID-19 passport for international travelers.


BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said the scheme will speed up immigration processing at the airports and facilitate the revival of tourism and travel industry in the country.

Morente said current procedures requiring arriving international travelers to be tested at the airport could pose problems to the BI in the near future as the country reopens its borders to more foreigners, especially tourists.

“The anticipated influx of more international travelers could result in longer queues in our immigration counters as all of these passengers should be tested at the airport before they are allowed to enter the country,” the BI chief said.

He observed that with the use of a COVID-19 support evidencing that a traveler was vaccinated and is free of the virus, the conduct of immigration formalities for arriving passengers would be faster and congestion would be lessened, if not avoided.

Morente also echoed the statement of Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat that the COVID-19 passport would facilitate international travel as it will assure countries that visiting tourists are vaccinated and COVID-free.

Earlier, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) disclosed it plans to launch a so-called IATA travel pass, which was described as a global and standardized solution to validate and authenticate country regulations on COVID-19 passenger travel requirements.

The IATA explained that the project aims to create a digital system that will enable passengers to verify that their test or vaccination meets existing COVID-19 travel regulations.