'PH must keep pace': DOT proposes 'green lane' for vaccinated foreign travelers

Published May 21, 2021, 3:16 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

As part of the government’s efforts to reopen the country’s economy, the Department of Tourism (DOT) is batting for the opening of a “green lane” that will facilitate the entry to the Philippines of foreign travelers who have already been inoculated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

(Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP)

The DOT pitched the idea to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases even as quarantine rules are being relaxed worldwide thanks to the progress of vaccinations.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the initiative will not only help in the revival of the tourism industry but will also bring back the livelihoods of many workers in the sector.

“The green lane will pave the way for the reopening of our tourist destinations to leisure travelers who are now fully vaccinated. It will give the jobs back to many of our tourism workers and gradually revive the tourism industry under safe conditions,” Puyat said on Friday, May 21.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) earlier bared that over 25 countries across the globe have wholly or partially lifted restrictions for travelers who are already inoculated against COVID-19.

“We must keep pace with our neighbors and the rest of the world in slowly reopening our tourist destinations. We must be ready for the visitors when the whole world is ready to safely travel again,” Puyat added.

The government’s pandemic task force has directed the DOT and other agencies to explore protocols for inbound international travel for fully vaccinated individuals.

Headed by the DOT and the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), a small working group has been formed to evaluate the possibility of implementing “green lanes” and formulate protocols.

The group also includes the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) under the Department of Health (DOH), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) under the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the Department of Transportation (DOTr), the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) under the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

 
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