Malaysians held at airport due to vaccine certificate compatibility issues: BI

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 17 2022 09:03 AM | Updated as of Feb 17 2022 09:16 AM

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MANILA – Seven Malaysians were held at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on February 13 because of vaccine certificate compatibility issues, an official of the Bureau of Immigration said Thursday.

On February 14, news outfit The Straits Times reported that the Malaysian nationals who were stranded at the airport were finally allowed to enter the Philippines after an intervention by the Malaysian embassy.

Bureau of Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said the Malaysians were initially held at the Philippine borders because of issues with their vaccine certificates.

“The procedure po followed the standard operating procedure, yung mga when they arrived to the Philippines, ang tinitingnan po kasi nyan, once they arrive, yung mga requirements po nila as set by the (Inter-Agency Task Force Against COVID-19), ngayon po isa doon sa mga requirements is the proof of vaccination.”

She added, “Ang nakikita po ng IATF ang tinakda po ng IATF na proof of vaccination, 3 types po, it’s either yung yellow card po, yung ini-issue ng (World Health Organization), VaxCertPH o kaya po yung kanilang vaccination card if they are part of the reciprocity agreement, meaning sila po, tinatanggap po nila yung VaxCertPH, at tayo rin po tatanggapin po nila yung sa atin,” she explained.

“From our understanding po ang nakita ng Bureau of Quarantine during that time is that hindi pa po part of the reciprocity agreement ang bansang Malaysia,” Sandoval noted.

“But I think after a day or so after that incident, nagkaroon na rin po nag agreement and it was included na po in the most recent IATF resolution, kaya po they were already allowed to enter the country,” she said.

Sandoval said the Malaysians stayed at the airport and were not offered a hotel accommodation because protocol dictated that they be flown back immediately to their country of origin.

“Pag excluded po kasi they technically have not arrived in the country. Technically po hindi pa po natin sila pinapasok sa bansa. So ‘pag excluded po ang procedure po dapat ibo-board na sa next available flight.”

“Nagkataon lamang po na sila pa po ay hindi nai-board doon sa next available flight nila dahil wala pa pong available flight,” she explained. 

Sandoval said travelers can find a list of countries that have reciprocity agreements with the Philippines on the website of the Bureau of Quarantine.

“For those naman po na walang reciprocity agreement, what they would often present is yung yellow card po that they can get, yung WHO yellow card, which I think they can also get from the health authorities doon sa bansang pinanggalingan nila.”

--TeleRadyo, 17 February 2022