OFWs to use yellow cards as temporary vaccine card

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
OFWs to use yellow cards as temporary vaccine card
A Bureau of Quarantine employee shows the International Certificate of Vaccination, or yellow card, at its satellite office at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City yesterday. The yellow card is temporarily issued to travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID while the government works on a uniform digital vaccination card.
Krizjohn Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) will be using government-issued “yellow cards” while the government works on a unified vaccine card, an official of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) said on Wednesday, citing difficulties in local governments’ compliance and poor regional coverage of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government was in the meantime implementing Bureau of Quarantine-issued yellow cards, while working on a uniform digital vaccination card equipped with a quick response (QR) code.

The rollout of the digital vaccination cards was snagged due to the poor uploading of data by local government units (LGUs), an issue linked by Nograles to the poor regional presence of the DICT, which is in charge of the program.

“The Department of the Interior and Local Government will push LGUs. We’re also asking help from different leagues to help us push this some more,” Nograles, IATF co-chair, told “The Chiefs” the other night on Cignal TV’s One News.

The absence of a unified vaccination card has started to cause hurdles for OFWs who need to travel abroad, the most recent of which is Hong Kong’s refusal to accept vaccination cards issued by local government units. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. earlier said this was because Hong Kong authorities were wary that the LGU-issued cards did not come from “one source.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs said the yellow cards would serve as a temporary solution to the problem.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III told the Chiefs last month that the DICT was still creating a database. Nograles said the government was hoping to launch the uniform vaccination card in Metro Manila in “two weeks’ time,” but only a few LGUs have been keeping abreast with uploading data.

“Maybe in terms of priorities of LGUs, just maybe, the (vaccination card and data uploads) were backburnered. They are facing the Delta threat, vaccinations so I think it’s just a matter of systematically committing to this, like appointing a point person in uploading,” Nograles said.

“The next step is to push them to be updated so we can already launch it soon. We don’t want to launch a system that’s not updated as possible, so there’s just a delay in the launch but it really needs the cooperation of LGUs,” he added.

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