Sotto to gov't: Offer COVID-19 jabs at airports, too

Published June 16, 2021, 6:28 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday, June 16, the Philippines could adopt the United States’ policy for inbound travelers, who may opt to get vaccinated in airports upon their arrival.

Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III

He said setting up airport vaccine sites could also encourage tourists and investors from abroad and aid in the country’s economic recovery.

“Pag-aralan natin kung maaaring ma-adopt natin ang ganitong sistema. Sa ganitong paraan, mas maraming mae-engganyo ang galing sa ibang bansa na wala masyadong kaso ng COVID-19 ang pumunta na dito sa ating bansa. Makatutulong ito sa mas mabilis na economic recovery ng Pilipinas (Let us study if we can adopt this system. This way, foreigners from nations with less COVID-19 cases would be encouraged to fly to our country. This will help speed up the Philippines’ economic recovery),” Sotto said in a statement.

Some states in the US have put up vaccine sites airports and other travel hubs, international reports said.

Fully-vaccinated travelers are allowed to proceed to their destination, while those who have yet to be vaccinated are offered to get the COVID-19 jab in the airport.

Sotto has been calling on the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to review and adjust its quarantine protocols for fully-vaccinated travelers from abroad, especially for returning Filipinos, who are burdened with additional expenses to comply with the government’s stringent requirements.

“We have received feedbacks from returning Filipinos that they are forced to shell out tens of thousands of pesos for the mandatory 14-day quarantine and swab testing before they are allowed to go home or proceed to their city or province of destination. This is not only inconvenient but unnecessary as well,” Sotto reiterated.

During the Senate Committee of the Whole’s hearing on the country’s vaccine rollout Tuesday, June 15, he asked the IATF to immediately resolve these complaints.

Sotto said that if the government cannot shoulder the quarantine and testing expenses of returning Filipino migrants and overseas Filipino workers, it should adjust its guidelines to ease their burden.