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Taiwanese tourists singled out for Philippine quarantine

Philippines failure to recognize Taiwanese vaccination cards could lead to delays for Filipino workers

Foreign passengers arrive at Manila's International Airport on Feb. 10. 

Foreign passengers arrive at Manila's International Airport on Feb. 10.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Although the Philippines has opened its borders to other tourists, it is still requiring Taiwanese to undergo seven days of quarantine because it is not recognizing the country's vaccination certificates, possibly leading to the delayed entry of Filipino workers into Taiwan.

On Thursday (Feb. 10), the Philippines lifted a nearly two-year ban on foreign tourists and is allowing travelers who are fully vaccinated and test negative for the virus to enter the country without needing to quarantine. However, the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) is forcing tourists from Taiwan to continue to quarantine for seven days because it does not recognize vaccination cards from Taiwan, citing the country's lack of membership in the World Health Organization (WHO), according to Filipino recruitment consultant Emmanuel Geslani.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) has reportedly already filed a complaint with the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) over the matter. Geslani warned that the treatment of Taiwanese tourists "may result in a retaliatory move against our Filipino workers who will be deployed to Taiwan in the next two weeks."

Geslani pointed out that the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the IATF have already opened the borders to fully vaccinated foreign tourists with a recognized vaccination certificate.

Geslani criticized the BOQ's policy as a "black eye on our tourism efforts," and he noted that Taiwanese tourists comprise the third-largest group of travelers visiting the Philippines. He called on Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Chairman and Resident Representative Wilfredo Fernandez to immediately take up the matter with the IATF and order BOQ to "stop this nonsense as it may result in the delay of our workers entering Taiwan."