MANILA — Beginning October 8, inbound travelers from countries under the green or yellow list or countries with low risk of COVID-19 infection can avail of a shortened facility quarantine period. 

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque on October 11, referred to a new protocol (Inter-agency Task Force Resolution number 142) which will allow fully vaccinated travelers coming from green and yellow countries to be in a facility quarantined for five days and be subjected to an RT-PCR test on the fifth day and finish the rest of the 10-day quarantine at home if the RT-PCR yielded a negative result.

Unvaccinated travelers from green and yellow countries’ facility quarantine period will also be shortened to seven days. If their RT-PCR test yields a negative result on the seventh day, the remaining seven days of their quarantine can be completed at home. 

“What will happen to those who already started quarantine before October 8? Good news because the IATF issued a resolution making this shortened quarantine period retroactive,” Roque said.

“So, if you are already on the sixth day of quarantine as of the moment, you should already have yourself subjected to an RT-PCR test because if that test yields a negative result, you can finish the rest of the quarantine at home,” Roque added.

In a report by GMA NewsIATF Resolution number 142 defines countries under the yellow list as having 50 to 500 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population while countries in the green list has 50 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population.

“The IATF also ordered the smooth implementation of national digital COVID-19 vaccination certificates to ensure that the Philippines’ system would be able to confirm the vaccination status of non-overseas Filipino workers and foreigners who were fully vaccinated abroad,” Roque noted.

Shortened quarantine period for inbound OFWs 

In an interview on Super Radyo dzBB on October 10Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) administrator Hans Leo Cacdac labelled as a welcome development the shortening of quarantine period for inbound OFWs.

Cacdac said the move will help them save money as it will cut expenses for OFWs’ stay in quarantine facilities while also allowing those who are fully vaccinated to be reunited with their families. 

“Maraming mga OFW ay fully vaccinated na … gusto na rin nilang makapiling ang kanilang pamilya, at syempre yung gastos sa isolation facilities,” Cacdac said, noting there are currently 9,859 OFWs in hotel isolation facilities in the National Capital Region (NCR) and neighboring provinces and around 12,000 to 13,000 nationwide.

On OWWA’s funding assistance for distressed OFWs, Cacdac assured that livelihood assistance to pandemic-hit OFWs, and scholarship grants for their qualified children still continue.

“Patuloy pa rin ang livelihood assistance, at scholarship ng mga anak ng OFWs na naapektuhan ng COVID-19,” he said.

Cacdac also noted that OWWA is still waiting for additional funding as the PHP5.2-billion fund for the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) ongoing Abot Kamay ang Pagtulong (DOLE-AKAP) program which provides a one-time financial assistance of PHP10,000 has already been exhausted.

“Nag-a-antabay tayo kasi ang pondo ngayon na so far PHP5.2B ay naipamahagi na ng OWWA at ng DOLE. Then we will jumpstart the DOLE-AKAP,” he said, noting they are continuously accepting applications for the program until the fund becomes available.