Entry protocols set by the Bohol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) are intended to keep the province safe and to curb the spread of COVID-19, not to inconvenience travelers, an official said amid widespread criticism against the province’s requirement of a national vaccination certificate from individuals entering the island instead of a local government unit (LGU)-issued vaccination card which is easier to acquire.
“All the moves of the BIATF are not to delay or pressure atong mga kaigsuonan. Gitan-aw nato na ang entry requirements are legitimate mao ra na ang purpose ug intention which is to protect the Boholanos,” said BIATF disaster cluster head Anthony Damalerio in an interview over station dyRD on Tuesday.
According to Damalerio, the requirement of the vaccination certificate which can be acquired by applying through the Department of Health’s (DOH) website was enforced to counter the use of “fake” vaccination cards.
He said the vaccination certificate, unlike the vaccination card, could not be forged as this has a unique QR code which can easily be authenticated using an online app.
However, Executive Order 52 which was issued by Governor Art Yap last week was met with heavy criticism due to the lack of updates on the DOH website (vaxcert.doh.gov.ph) which was also still on pilot launch and designed to cater to international travelers.
On Sunday, Yap issued EO 52-A amending his first directive and allowing persons with vaccination cards issued in Bohol to just present these instead of the vaccination certificate.
Under the EO, which will only be in effect until November 30, 2021, those who were vaccinated outside of Bohol would still need to secure a vaccination certificate from the DOH or undergo RT-PCR testing
The new policy was still met with criticisms particularly from Boholanos who were vaccinated in localities outside of the province.
“For every program, duna man gyuy mga reactions dunay objections. But knowing we are in a pandemic, unya long term maning pandemic, wa man ta mahibaw og kanusa pa ni mahuman, we will just have to adjust,” Damalerio said.
“Dunay mga objections, dunay mga posts sa social media mangayo lang ta sa inyong pasensya kita man tanan apektado ani, og pwede pa lang sayonon nato ang pag biyahe mas maayo but we have to adjust knowing na naay pandemic which might be here for a long time,” he added.
Based on experience
According to Damalerio, the stringent policy on proof of vaccination was pushed due to the province’s experience with the requirement of RT-PCR testing in which results were being forged.
Damalerio said they were able to detect 500 fake RT-PCR results since the mandatory testing was enforced last year.
“Mangayo lang ta og pagsabot sa atong kaigsuonan. Wa man ta ingon na magpeke sila sa ilang mga bakuna cards but then again adunay records na duna gyuy atyong mga kaigsuonan na nagattempt gyud og sud pag gamit og fake PCR test results,” said Damalerio. (R. Tutas)