MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has clarified that Filipinos traveling to other countries do not need to be fully inoculated against COVID-19.
A publication material released over the weekend by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) quoted presidential spokesman Harry Roque as saying that all travelers leaving the Philippines should be fully vaccinated. One is considered fully vaccinated if he already received two doses of COVID-19 jabs.
"That's wrong. It's not mandatory and will apply only to those who want a shortened quarantine upon their return," Roque said in a text message to reporters last Saturday.
The PCOO has deleted the publication material from its social media accounts.
Travelers who got inoculated in the Philippines have to undergo a seven-day facility-based quarantine upon arrival, shorter than the ten-day period required for those who were vaccinated abroad.
Under Resolution No. 120 issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), fully vaccinated individuals must carry their vaccination card, which must be verified before departure.
They should also bring with them a certification issued prior to departure by the Department of Information and Communications Technology or the city health officer of the local government unit that administered their second dose.
The certification must be presented to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) representative for re-verification at the Department of Transportation One-Stop-Shop upon arrival in the Philippines. It will allow those who got inoculated in the Philippines to undergo a shorter facility-based quarantine.
The BOQ has been directed to ensure strict symptom monitoring of individuals undergoing the quarantine.
The individual shall be subjected to reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction testing only when COVID-19 symptoms manifest within the quarantine period. After the week-long facility-based quarantine, the BOQ shall issue a certificate indicating the individual’s vaccination status.
The IATF is expected to submit to President Duterte its recommendation on the quarantine status of areas this week.
Roque previously said the classification of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal and Laguna may be eased from general community quarantine (GCQ) with restrictions to ordinary GCQ in mid-June because of lower number of infections and healthcare utilization rate.
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