Philippines fixing COVID-19 vaccination authentication format after issue with HK

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 22 2021 12:02 PM | Updated as of Aug 22 2021 08:12 PM

MANILA - The Philippines has addressed the COVID-19 vaccination authentication issue that Hong Kong raised affecting Filipino workers heading there, with positive results expected this week, an official said Sunday.

Hans Leo Cacdac, administrator of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo that officials of his agency, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, the Philippine Consulate General (PCG) in Hong Kong, and the Philippines' Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) met last week to talk about the problem.

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"Doon, napagkaisahan na isasaayos ang format ng vaccination authentication dito sa BOQ side, that can be aligned to the Hong Kong side, para tanggapin ng Hong Kong side. And in turn, ang PCG natin sa Hong Kong will coordinate to the Hong Kong authorities about this," Cacdac said.

(During the meeting, it was agree that the vaccination authentication format in our BOQ side will be fixed, so that it can be aligned to the Hong Kong side for its acceptance there. And in turn, our PCG in Hong Kong will coordinate to the Hong Kong authorities about this.)

"In short, meron ng breakthrough, meron nang pagbibigay-daan ng kalunasan dito sa issue ng vaccination validation, para malaman ng Hong Kong authorities whether or not sapat ang pagbabakuna ng isang Filipino worker, which we understand is the main issue," he added.

(In short, there is already a breakthrough, a step has been taken to resolve the vaccination validation issue so that Hong Kong authorities will know whether or not a Filipino worker is properly vaccinated, which we understand is the main issue.)

Cacdac said the action taken will lead to "easing of travel restrictions."

"Umaasa tayo na itong padating na linggo, meron ng kalunasan ito. We all ended that meeting in very high spirits. Si ConGen, DOLE side, DOH side, pakiramdam namin, eto na ang solusyon. In fact, right after the meeting, hiningi ng BOQ yung format ng Hong Kong at inendorso na namin sa kanila," he said.

(We expect that this coming week, it will be resolved... Our Consul General in Hong Kong, the DOLE side, the DOH side feel that this is the solution. In fact, right after the meeting, the BOQ asked for Hong Kong's format, and we endorsed it to them.)

"I'm very optimistic na maaayos…. It’s really just a matter of implementation nung mga action points namin last week," he added.

(I'm very optimistic that this will be resolved... It's really just a matter of implanting the action points brought up last week.)

Eman Villanueva of BAYAN Hong Kong and Macau shared the optimism of Cacdac, saying that there is already a possibility that "as early as next week", Filipino workers may already be allowed entry in Hong Kong.

Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. had said that vaccination cards from the Philippines are not being accepted by Hong Kong because they do not come from a single source.

In an earlier interview, Villanueva said up to 4,000 Filipinos bound for Hong Kong to work are affected by the vaccination card issue.

Hong Kong has some of the most stringent coronavirus entry requirements globally, with arrivals from countries considered "high risk" mandated to undergo compulsory quarantine for 21 days in a designated quarantine hotel, even those who are vaccinated.

- with report from Reuters