MANILA - An adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday called for the issuance of a “vaccine pass” as well as swab test exemption for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the vaccine pass, which can be the “bakuna card” issued by local government units. He said this will allow restaurants and other establishments to go beyond their quarantined restricted capacity by accepting more guests who are fully vaccinated.
Individuals who have already received the required 2 doses of COVID-19 vaccines should also be allowed to skip the RT-PCR test requirements for traveling around the country, Concepcion added.
The government, as well as the private sector, should prepare the Philippines for the “next normal” marked by greater mobility and opening up of more sectors of the economy, the Duterte adviser said.
He said the proposals are backed by experts.
“We have been meeting with OCTA Research and Dr. Edsel Salvana, who is one of the advisers of DOH [Department of Health] to align with our strategies and proposals by giving vaccinated people more mobility and access,” Concepcion said.
For arenas, movie theaters, bars, and other high risk establishments, Concepcion proposed that fully vaccinated people be allowed to stay indoors while unvaccinated people stay outdoors.
“These are some examples of what the private sector will propose,” he said.
Concepcion said new policies are needed as the Philippines is getting closer to achieving the minimum requirement of population protection where 40-50 percent of Filipinos are vaccinated.
“We have to give the vaccinated population greater mobility as soon as we achieve the minimum of population protection. Doing so will go a long way in reviving some of our battered sectors such as the tourism and hospitality sectors and the food and beverage industry,” said Concepcion.
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who also heads the Duterte administration’s economic team, has expressed support for these policy proposals which will contribute to the rebound of the country’s economy.
Concepcion is also in favor of allowing the entry of tourists from countries where at least half of the population had been vaccinated against COVID-19.
Fully vaccinated foreigners should also be allowed into the country, provided that they take an RT-PCR test upon arrival and exempted from the 7-day quarantine requirement, he added
He said he was optimistic that the Philippines will achieve population protection by the fourth quarter, and that the 2021 Christmas season will be much more festive than last year.