Surigao and Siargao reverse no-swab test policy for fully vaccinated travelers

Local government leaders in the Philippines raise concerns that it would be difficult to validate vaccination cards

On July 8, the governor of Surigao del Norte province announced that Surigao City and Siargao island will continue to require swab tests on fully-vaccinated travelers after all, despite an earlier resolution by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases that a vaccination card could be used in lieu of a negative RT-PCR test result.

According to Manila Standard, several local government leaders raised concerns that it would be difficult for them to validate vaccination cards. Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, talking to ABS-CBN’s TeleRadyo, admitted that the implementation would be problematic because “there are operational challenges or difficulties” that first need to be ironed out.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific assures that it will comply with health protocols set by the LGU, including swab tests for fully-vaccinated passengers, should it be required. It urges travelers to always check with the local government unit of their destination for the latest updates.

The airline had earlier identified seven destinations in its network that were accepting vaccination cards as travel requirement: Negros Occidental province (except Bacolod City), Cauayan City of Isabela province, Cotabato, Siargao, Surigao, Tacloban and Virac. Surigao and Siargao are no longer part of this group.

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