DAVAO City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city will still require mandatory negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test results for fully vaccinated air travel passengers arriving in the city.
Duterte-Carpio said the order comes after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) told local government units (LGUs) that they may honor the vaccination cards in lieu of testing or still ask fully vaccinated travelers to present a negative swab test result as entry requirement.
“Initially, nagsulti ang IATF na vaccine cards na ang gamiton then after two days, I think nagsulti sila na they will leave it up to the LGUs. So ang atoa is RT-PCR testing gihapon (The IATF initially said that vaccination cards will be honored but after two days, I think they said they will leave the decision to the LGUs, we will still require the negative RT-PCR test result),” the mayor said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.
Duterte-Carpio emphasized that the RT-PCR test result must still be required because fully vaccinated individuals can still be infected with Covid-19.
“Posible gihapon siyang matakdan og Covid-19 all be it mild or asymptomatic na iyang case pero nagadala gihapon sya or posible gihapon sya mag-carry sa virus. So, angay gihapon nga itesting ang mga travelers (The fully vaccinated person may still contract Covid-19 although the case may be mild or asymptomatic, he or she can still be a carrier of the virus. So it is still necessary to test the travelers),” she said.
Davao City still has an existing ordinance mandating inbound air travelers to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours before their departure date to Francisco Bangoy International Airport, also known as Davao International Airport.
In accordance to City Ordinance 0477-21, Series of 2021, “persons entering Davao City via the Davao International Airport are mandated to present their RT-PCR Covid-19 Test Result to Davao City officials and/or authorities, along with a valid government issued identification card.”
The IATF, on July 2, issued its Resolution 124-B, which states that interzonal travelers who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 may only be required to present proof of complete vaccination instead of a negative test result.
The IATF Resolution 124-B defines a fully vaccinated individual for Covid-19 as someone having received the second dose in a two-dose series for more than or equal to two weeks. The vaccines administered, however, must be included on the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) List or Compassionate Special Permit (CSP) issued by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration or Emergency Use Listing of the World Health Organization.
City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) Head Generose Tecson, who also serves as Airport Monitoring head, told SunStar Davao in a previous interview that there are issues with the vaccination card that must be addressed.
“Hindi pa kasi unified ‘yung vaccination card. Wala kasing security features ang vaccination card. How are we going to identify kung fake o hindi?” Tecson said.
She added that vaccination cards are prone to being faked, similar to RT-PCR test results.
This concern has been part of the agenda during the Task Force meeting.
She said the city has also been planning to incorporate the vaccination status of the vaccinees in the Safe Davao QR.