The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce Philippines, Inc. (FICCI) is supporting the proposal to reduce the mandatory quarantine period for fully vaccinated migrant Filipinos returning from the United States (US) and Europe.
"With Christmas fast approaching, it is time for us to welcome our fully vaccinated balikbayans and OFW (overseas Filipino workers) living abroad in countries like the US and Europe," FICCI said in a statement Monday, Sept. 20.
"We support the reduction of the mandatory quarantine period to five days for such fully vaccinated incoming travelers because many of them need to return home and get back to work in January 2022," it noted.
The group said that anything longer than five days will deter and discourage them from making such trip back home. This is due to the very high cost of travel vis a vis the very few number of days they can spend with their families in the Philippines.
Referring to the US and European nations, the FICCI said these countries have been able to vaccinate a large portion of their population against the dreaded coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
It said that allowing the Filipino migrants to come home "will not only help uplift their spirits but also that of their families here in the Philippines".
"This will further help restart our economy as this will encourage these families to help the retail, restaurant, airline, and tourist industries among others start to recover. We must not wait for next year to do this as our economy needs a shot in the arm now," the Indian businessmen stressed.
"We appeal to our national leaders and members of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) and their advisers to seriously consider this proposal and come up with clear rules to ensure that this is made available and communicated though all channels at the soonest possible time," they added.
The group further appeal to local leaders and members of law enforcement agencies to ensure that minimum health standards are fully complied with "as this after all is the only real weapon we have against the monster virus along with a sustained national vaccination program".
"The Delta variant has opened our eyes to the reality that COVID-19 is here to stay and the sooner we all learn to live with it, the sooner we can save more lives and livelihood," FICCI said.