The Department of Tourism (DOT) tapped the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for help in searching for ways to verify vaccine certificates to prevent passengers from falsifying their medical records when entering the country.
"We are asking IATA to help us for international travel," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said when asked how the government plans to authenticate vaccine certificates at airports.
A small working group (SWG), led by the DOT and the Department of Foreign Affairs, evaluates the resumption of international travel in the safest way possible.
The group is studying a proposal to put up a green lane, which the government intends to set up to facilitate entry of vaccinated foreigners and discuss protocols to reduce passenger's quarantine period who received their complete doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
"The SWG has to discuss protocols for domestic tourism and inbound and arriving Filipinos. The DOT proposed the green lane so that discussions can already begin on several issues, such as authenticating vaccine certificates," Puyat said.
Through the green lane, to enter the country, returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and foreign nationals who completed their vaccination will only need to quarantine for seven days instead of 14 days.
Puyat emphasized that reducing the quarantine time for vaccinated passengers would benefit OFWs since it would cut the cost of traveling to the Philippines.
She also said that to keep up with our neighboring countries, such as Hong Kong and Thailand, the government should also authorize the arrival of vaccinated foreign tourists.
In Hong Kong, as long as they originate from low-risk countries identified by authorities, they allow vaccinated foreigners into its region.
While in Thailand, to boost their tourism activities, they plan to immunize 70 percent of the Phuket population to achieve herd immunity on the island.
"If the famed destination achieves herd immunity by the second semester, then vaccinated travelers will be permitted to enter the island without the need to undergo quarantine," officials said.
Furthermore, the World Health Organization opposes plans to require vaccination in entering foreign borders since it has yet to be determined if immunization stops the virus from spreading.
Visitor arrivals in the Philippines dropped by 82 percent to 1.48 million, from 8.26 million last year.