Swab tests or vaccination cards? LGUs face choice in accepting travelers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 07 2021 11:33 AM

Swab tests or vaccination cards? LGUs face choice in accepting travelers 1
Passengers queue at the Araneta City Bus Station in Quezon City on March 25, 2021, a week before Holy Week. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - It is up to local governments whether it would require vaccination cards or confirmatory swab tests from travelers, the Department of Tourism said Wednesday.

The Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19 earlier said those who have received 2 doses of vaccine may present their inoculation card or quarantine certificate instead of a negative confirmatory swab test result when traveling domestically.

Some LGUs, however, said they were not consulted by the IATF in making the policy, adding that local governments use different vaccination cards. 

The IATF only presented "an alternative," said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

"'Yun lang ay alternative sa RT-PCR (test), it’s really up to the LGU (local government units) kung magdedecide sila kung instead of fully-vaccinated, RT-PCR (test) na lang ang gagamitin," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(It's only an alternative to the RT-PCR, it's really up to the LGU if they will decide to accept full-vaccinated or RT-PCR.)

Romulo-Puyat cited as an example Baguio City, which she said accepts vaccination cards from tourists instead of negative swab test results.

"Si Mayor (Benjamin) Magalong, dahil 40 percent na ang bakunado sa Baguio, he opted na fully-vaccinated na lang instead of RT-PCR kasi confident siya na marami na ring bakunado sa Baguio City," she said.

(Mayor Magalong opted to accept fully vaccinated persons instead of RT-PCR test results because 40 percent of the city is already inoculated, he's confident many are protected in Baguio City.)

"Pero may ilang mayor, LGU dahil kakaunti pa lang ang bakunado sa kanilang probinsiya, gusto nila muna RT-PCR. Pero pag mas marami nang bakunado sa kanilang lugar, doon na raw sila magshi-shift sa fully-vaccinated.

(Some mayors, LGUs want RT-PCR tests because only a small portion of their population has been vaccinated. Once more people are inoculated, they said they would allow the entry of fully-vaccinated tourists.)

The Department of the Interior and Local Government has ordered local officials to abide by the national policy. 

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