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Filipino-Americans dismayed US not included in PH list of ‘green’ countries

Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jul 02 2021 05:24 AM | Updated as of Jul 08 2021 02:28 PM

For many Filipino-Americans, traveling to the Philippines with few restrictions would be the next “new normal” thing to do.

But for many of them who are fully vaccinated frequent travelers, several days of mandatory facility-based quarantine in the Philippines is a big turnoff. 

"When I think about the quarantine I hesitate . . . So I'm going back later, not at this moment I have to wait," Isabel Juan said.

Beginning July 1, inbound passengers to the Philippines with proof of full vaccination may avail of the “green lanes”, meaning travelers who are fully vaccinated for already more than two weeks will have a shorter facility-based quarantine of 7 days, instead of the regular 10-day quarantine. 

Based on the Philippines' inter-agency COVID-19 task force, the green lane also applies only to passengers coming from its list of "green countries."

But the list did not include the US, which has nearly half of its population fully vaccinated.

The reason, according to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, is the presence of the Delta variant in the US.

"We cannot just say, ‘Oh go ahead, your vaccination rate is high’. But the fact is, the Delta variant is still in the US, and infections have increased from 10% to 21% to 32%. So we have to be careful," he said.

But for Filipinos who are among those who pushed the Biden administration to donate more COVID-19 vaccines to the Philippines via COVAX, excluding the US from the "green lane" is an insult. 

"I think we don't deserve to be quarantined anymore because we are fully vaccinated so USA should be one of the countries listed for the green lane," Ranka Manis said. 

Quarantined and fully vaccinated travelers to the Philippines will then be required to take the RT-PCR test on their 5th day of quarantine. If the test result is negative, they will be released from the quarantine hotel, but only after completing the 7-day quarantine. 

Filipino-Americans, however, said that still takes a toll on frequent travelers to the Philippines and they want the Duterte administration to rethink its policies. 

"I think the number of quarantine days can actually be decreased significantly," Romulo Aromin Jr. said. 


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