Travelers blamed for entry delays

THE Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) assured travelers that the One Health Pass (OHP) is “user friendly” and instead, blamed passengers for the delays they experienced when lining up for entry into the Philippines.

Asked whether the OHP could be simplified to ease the confusion among arriving travelers, BOQ Director III Dr. Roberto M. Salvador explained in a mix of English and Filipino,  “OHP is user-friendly and if travelers will upload required documents like the vaxx card showing they are fully vaccinated plus the booster, or fully vaccinated without a booster dose but RT-PCR test results pre-departure, they will receive a QR code eligible to pass the express lane.”

In a Viber message to the BusinessMirror, he explained, “Those who have not complied with uploading documents or protocol, a barcode will be given and they will have to undergo manual verification of documents upon arrival.”

He stressed, “It’s the behavior of the passengers that is the problem, that’s why the process at the airport gets delayed. If they don’t comply with the OHP, they are manually verified which is slower instead of the express lane where it is just ‘scan and go.’  As of now more than 80 percent of arrivals are able to comply that’s why the [entry] process at the airport is quick.”

Travelers’ experiences

A number of newly-arrived passengers in the Philippines told this paper they received both a bar code and a QR code after registering with the OHP, causing confusion upon arrival at the airport. In other cases, arriving passengers received only a bar code despite having uploaded all the documents required by the OHP site.

“Then the queue for those with the barcode is so long, while the queue for those with a QR code is short. We were concerned as these passengers were squeezed into such a small space, without any social distancing,” said one traveler, who requested anonymity. “We were also treated rudely by the staff checking our papers; they were mad that we were in the bar code queue despite the fact we had uploaded all our documents to the OHP site,” he added.

BOQ also encouraged government agencies overseeing the return of overseas Filipinos and airlines to provide the exact link to the OHP site so travelers to the Philippines don’t get scammed by fraudulent web sites.

Earlier, the Tourism Congress of the Philippines raised the matter of “proxy” OHP web sites  to Tourism Secretary-designate Christina Garcia Frasco at a recent meeting. A number of travel agents have reported the scamming of some of their clients because of these fake sites. (See, “Foreign tourists warned on fake OHP site charging $75,” in the BusinessMirror, August 1, 2022.)

Scams continue

IN a Memorandum Circular No. 2022-12 dated July 29 reminded all BOQ stations, airline operators, overseas Filipino workers, returning overseas Filipinos, and concerned government agencies, Regional Task Forces of the National Task Force Covid-19, Salvador and BOQ Director IV Dr. Ferdinand S. Salcedo said, “to guide the passengers properly when they seek assistance, where to register. Do not just ask passengers to search ‘One Health Pass’ in their web browser but instead provide the proper link for registration by typing www.onehealthpass.com.ph because searching ONLY for the words ‘one health pass’ will also display the fake web sites which risks the passengers to mistakenly select these sites.”

Among the fake web sites: www.philippines-cif.com, www.philippines-healthpass.com, www.philippinesvisa.com, www.philippinesohp.com, www.onlinevisa.com/one-health-pass-philippines/

BOQ said it has been constantly disseminating information about the correct URL link to the OHP site via web sites and social media accounts of member-agencies of the One Stop Shop for the Management of Returning Overseas Filipinos (OSS-MROF).

The BOQ noted these fraudulent web sites charge anywhere from $49.99 to $95 to supposedly register a passenger arriving in the Philippines with the OHP. The BOQ reminded arriving passengers that registration to the OHP site is “free of charge and and does not require any form of payment.”