Locsin mulls formal inquiry from HK chief executive on honoring PH vax cards

Published August 11, 2021, 2:55 PM

by Roy Mabasa

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is mulling over the idea of “formally” asking Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam about the Special Administrative Region’s decision not to honor Philippine-issued COVID-19 vaccination cards to fully inoculated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who wish to return to their jobs in Hong Kong.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. (Malacañang)

Locsin raised this idea a day after he disclosed that Hong Kong authorities will not honor Philippine-issued vaccination cards that do not come from “one source”.

“I’ll ask Carrie Lam formally why not. I have always been supportive of her superb management of Hong Kong,” the DFA secretary said in a tweet Wednesday.

The local government units (LGUs) and the Department of Health’s Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) are currently issuing vaccination cards to fully inoculated individuals in the Philippines.

On Monday, Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque clarified that the Philippine government is already discussing with the international community regarding the acceptance of Philippine-issued vaccination cards.

For months now, the Department of Information Technology (DICT), along with the DOH and the LGUs, is fast-tracking the rollout of the digital vaccination certificate, a measure to standardize the card issuance that will be aligned and pass international standards.

Last week, the Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong announced that that the HK government has already lifted the ban on the deployment of about 3,000 OFWs in the former Crown Colony subject to certain protocol conditions upon arrival.

Apart from the acceptable vaccination card, the Philippine government is also seeking clarification on the number of days that an OFW will need to spend under quarantine upon arrival in Hong Kong.

There are currently more than 200,000 OFWs in Hong Kong and more than 3,000 others who have existing job placements there are unable to leave due to the travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.