‘Di na kanya-kanya! Precious Castelo proposes e-vaccination cards for all Pinoys

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By Billy Begas

House Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo has filed a measure mandating the issuance of an electronic vaccine card to all fully vaccinated Filipinos to ensure their safe and unimpeded mobility here and abroad.

Castelo said allowing local government units (LGUs) to print their own vaccination cards have caused a problem to overseas Filipino workers leaving for their jobs in Hong Kong, which has refused to recognize the different LGU-issued cards.

This has prompted an appeal from Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. for Hong Kong authorities to accept the cards, she added.

Castelo pointed out that the absence of a uniform card is also causing problems for domestic travelers, whose destinations find it difficult to check the authenticity of their vaccination documents.

She said at least one LGU has required fully vaccinated residents to go to designated centers to have a validation sticker attached to their vaccination cards.

“This is an obsolete authentication method that exposes our residents to the virus. We must use all available modern technology to protect our people from Covid-19,” Castelo stressed.

Castelo’s House bill 9957 will amend the Covid-19 Vaccination Act (Republic Act 11525).

The proposal will task the Department of Health (DOH) to “maintain a central database of vaccinations and mandate a uniform format for the vaccine card.”

“The e-vaccine cards shall be in uniform format throughout the country, regardless of where the original vaccine cards were issued. The e-vaccine card will ensure the safe mobility of vaccinated individuals, locally and internationally, and will prevent the proliferation of counterfeit cards since authentication can easily be done through the database,” she said.

The e-card would be available free of charge to fully vaccinated Filipinos and may be used for purposes other than travel, Castelo added.