A SENATOR called on the government to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated local and foreign tourists to boost the reopening of the industry.

“If we’re easing travel restrictions on fully vaccinated Filipinos returning from trips abroad, I don’t see any reason why we should exclude those fully vaccinated foreign and local tourists as they are similarly situated,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said in a statement on Monday.

“Besides, there’s more to gain economically speaking as it will bring back the workers in the tourism sector,” the vice chairperson of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee added.

The government on Thursday approved the rules cutting the quarantine requirement for fully vaccinated travelers to seven days, provided they received their jab in the Philippines.

Returning Filipinos who got vaccinated overseas must still undergo a 10-day quarantine at a facility and four days at home. A person is considered fully vaccinated two or more weeks after completing the required dose, Presidential Spokesman Herminio L. Roque, Jr. said.

They will only be subjected to a swab test if they show symptoms within seven days.

Mr. Gatchalian also cited a proposal by the European Union Commission to exempt vaccinated people from testing or quarantines when traveling within EU countries and ease travel measures as vaccination progress.

Mr. Gatchalian also cited the latest guidelines by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which only recommends fully vaccinated international travelers bound to US, including its citizens, to get tested three to five days after travel and isolate if the result is positive. 

The senator also said that easing travel restrictions is also a way to address vaccine hesitancy.

“Many of us already want to go out and travel, but if they think that they can only do this once they are vaccinated, for sure the number of those who will go to vaccination centers will increase,” he said in Filipino. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas