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Biz Memos

Philippines' travel protocols should be like Thailand's, says presidential adviser

Philstar.com
NAIA canceled flights
Passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's Terminal 2 wait at the Departure Area after several domestic flights were canceled on Monday, Jan. 10, 2022.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines (As released) — Restrictions on international travelers to the Philippines such as on quarantine and testing should ease like Thailand with its quarantine-free visa program has done, a government adviser said Thursday.

Joey Concepcion, the presidential adviser for entrepreneurship, said that inbound protocols should evolve along with COVID-19, the Omicron variant of which is now believed to be widespread.

“It is quite understandable that public health should be the primary concern of governments. But as COVID itself changes, policy should be also open to re-examination,” Concepcion said in a statement.

"The entry requirements are so extensive and complicated that they put the country out of the reach of international visitors, and even our returning kababayans," he added.

Some of the changes should involve flexible quarantines and testing options outside RT-PCR, he said. Instead, the government can shift its focus to "testing, and testing fast and accurately."

"The goal is to find out if a passenger is infected, and if not, to send him on his way as fast as possible and not create bottlenecks," he said.

Switzerland has ceased requiring pre-arrival COVID-19 tests for vaccinated and newly recovered visitors. The United States, meanwhile, allows antigen tests or home quarantine for arriving passengers.

"Our OFWs can’t afford to spend their hard-earned money and precious time to spend days in facility quarantine," he said.

“Other countries seem to have already accepted the fact that COVID is here to stay. Maybe it’s time we practice living with COVID or else the Philippine economy will suffer and along with it, its MSMEs,” Concepcion added.

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Disclaimer: This press release is not covered by Philstar.com's editorial guidelines.

COVID-19

JOEY CONCEPCION

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