Concepcion hopeful that quarantine rule for North America travelers would be removed

Published October 26, 2021, 3:41 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship and Go Negosyo founder Joey Concepcion expressed optimism that the government’s pandemic task force will see the wisdom in his proposal to ditch the quarantine requirement for returning Filipinos and visitors from North America.

(Ali Vicoy/ File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“We hope that the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) would agree to our suggestion to allow no quarantine for travelers from North America as this would encourage returning Filipinos and other visitors to travel to the Philippines and to be with their loved ones,” Concepcion said in a statement Tuesday, Oct. 26.

As a big market for airlines, North America can help the local aviation industry recover from the huge losses that they have suffered during corovirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Concepcion said.

“If we can implement this regulation immediately, it would also be a happy Christmas for our airline industry as many Filipinos and other visitors would want pack their bags and return to the Philippines and celebrate Christmas here with loved ones who they haven’t seen for a long time,” he stressed.

During the recent arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine doses purchased by Go Negosyo through its “A Dose of Hope” vaccination program for private sector workers, Concepcion said he received assurance from vaccine czar Sec. Carlito Galvez ensured that there will be enough jabs in the country until the 1st quarter of 2022.

“The available vaccines will ensure that family members our Balikbayans will go home to, are also protected from hospitalization. Let’s give them a chance to be reunited,” Concepcion added.

The Go Negosyo founder also emphasized that the increased inbound traffic and the influx of returning Filipinos from North America–which covers the United States (US) and Canada–would greatly benefit economic players, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Palace official has been working with the local airline industry to convince the government to relax its travel guidelines as a way to encourage Filipinos to travel to various parts of the country. He said this will help revive the aviation sector and tourism-related businesses such as hotels, travel agents and operators.

In his last meeting with IATF adviser Dr. Edsel Salvana, Concepcion presented the proposals of the aviation industry, including the shelving of multiple requirements for traveling, such as the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) negative test result for most local destinations and long quarantine for passengers of international flights.

Salvana, for his part at that time, promised to raise the concerns of the stakeholders to the IATF, saying he also understands the plight of the airline industry.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque bared in a virtual press conference Tuesday that that IATF held a meeting between 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. They will again meet on Thursday, afterwards the body is expected to give updates on the implementation of the alert level system (ALS).

Roque serves as IATF spokesperson.