Lacson asks gov't: Issue standard quarantine protocols 'sooner, not later'

Published June 19, 2021, 4:09 PM

by Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The government should not delay the release of a unified quarantine protocol for vaccinated Filipino travelers for the sake of the Philippine economy, Senator Panfilo Lacson said on Saturday, June 19.

Passengers show their travel documents to authorities at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on May 6, 2021. (Ali Vicoy/MANILA BULLETIN)

Lacson pointed this out after National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. announced that a technical working group is coming up with standard protocols for inbound Filipinos vaccinated in the country and abroad.

Among others, Galvez disclosed that the plan was to give overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) vaccinated abroad the same treatment as those inoculated in the Philippines.

“Please make it sooner, not later. Mind the economy for a change,” Lacson tweeted.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III, meanwhile, maintained that the government should ease its mandatory quarantine rule for vaccinated OFWs and travelers.

“Konting flexibility naman, konting elbow room (Have some flexibility, give them elbow room),” Sotto said over radio DWIZ.

“Pati mga foreign investors…Sa mga businessman, ‘yong 14 days napakalaking oras ‘yon, hindi halaga. Sa mga ordinaryo nating kababayan, ‘yong halaga tumatama pati ‘yong oras (Even for foreign investors. For businessmen, 14 days is too long, they don’t really care about the money. For ordinary Filipinos, it’s both a concern on time and expenses),” he pointed out.

Senators have appealed to the Interagency Task Force (IATF) on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to address complaints about the long, mandatory quarantine periods it implements for arriving travelers.

During the inquiry of the Senate Committee of the Whole last June 15, Sotto and Lacson said the IATF should find a “middle ground” on the issue.