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PH to accept COVID-19 vax certs from 4 countries; eases ticket requirement for foreign nationals

By NICK GARCIA Published Feb 10, 2022 3:40 pm

The Philippines will now recognize COVID-19 vaccination certificates from Brazil, Israel, South Korea, and Timor Leste, as it starts accepting fully vaccinated foreign nationals from non-visa required countries for business and tourism purposes today, Feb. 10.

"Inaprubahan ng IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) ang recommendation ng Department of Foreign Affairs...for purposes of arrival quarantine protocols as well as for interzonal, intrazonal movement" acting palace spokesman Karlo Nograles said during a "special announcement" at the Laging Handa briefing on Feb. 10.

"The Bureau of Quarantine, the Department of Transportation - One-Stop-Shop, and the Bureau of Immigration are directed to recognize only the proofs of vaccination thus approved by the IATF," Nograles's presentation read.

The IATF previously approved of the COVID-19 vaccination certificates of Slovenia, Bahrain, Qatar, Switzerland, and Hong Kong.

Nograles also announced that the IATF has exempted inbound foreign spouses and/or children of Filipino citizens and former Filipino citizens with Balikbayan privilege, including their foreign spouse and/or children, from possessing ticket for their return journey not later than 30 days from date of arrival in the country.

"Ang bottomline po natin ay tatanggap na tayo ng mga foreign nationals coming for tourism and business," he said, adding that an additional traffic of inbound travelers would help offset losses and boost economic growth and development.

"Tayo ay confident... we'll be able to ensure na...mapapabangon na natin ang ating tourism industry. Makakatulong po ito ng malaki sa mga lubos na naapektuhan sa sektor na iyan," Nograles said, adding that there will be a so-called cascading effect among all other industries dependent on tourism.

Nograles assured the public that even with the easing of restrictions, all minimum health standards would be strictly observed.

"Ang mga foreign nationals ay magko-comply. Lahat tayo ay magko-comply," he said. "Hindi ito magiging sanhi ng spike or surge in COVID-19," he added while also underscoring that the country has to ramp up its COVID-19 vaccination efforts at the same time.