Several senators called on the IATF to be flexible in its quarantine rules for returning Pinots and Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).
At the Senate session on Tuesday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson said that there are chances there should be an adjustment and should not be too strict with the rule.
Lacson cited the example of his staff who went to the US to visit the husband there, when he returned to the country, although alone at home, he was quarantined in a hotel for 6 days, which cost P10,000 per night.
He said his staff was only swab tested on the 5th day and paid P2,000 for the airport transfer.
“You can just imagine, kung ordinary employee uuwi dito, P87,000 agad tanggal sa savings. So more than the inconvenience is yung gastos … We cannot be too stiff, too stringent. May mga occasion na flexible tayo,” said Lacson.
Some senators ask IATF to reconsider quarantine of OFWs, returning Pinoys
According to Health Sec. Francisco Duque III, they are already discussing with Interior Sec. Eduardo Año is the system of verification of vaccine certificates obtained abroad. He said this can be done by contacting embassies and consulates because there is no international database of those who have been vaccinated so far.
During the Senate hearing, Susan Ople, president of the Blas F Ople Policy Center, also said that OFWs are willing to be quarantined as a precaution against COVID-19 variants. The 10-day mandatory quarantine is too long for them.
She also said that some returning OFWs had been given a complete vaccination from their country of origin.
“Kawawa naman po yung mga OFW. Feeling na nga nila sila yung unwelcome modern-day hero eh. And sa IATF po masakit po marining sa amin, may narinig kami na, may nagsabi sa IATF na baka naman pekehin nila yung vaccination cards nila. Hindi po ganyan yung OFWs natin, ang dami po diyan ang tatagal na sa mga employers bakit naman nila i-jeopardize trabaho nila para mampeke ng vaccination card,” said Ople.