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The Philippines Develops Unified Arrival Facility

By the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), the Philippine Department of Health (DOH) is building a unified platform that will transition the One Health Pass to the electronic Arrival Card (eArrival Card) to streamline arrival formalities for travellers.

The programme is being carried out in collaboration with the Bureau of Quarantine (BoQ) and with the support of the Departments of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), Tourism (DOT), and the Bureau of Immigration (BI).

The DOH wants to alleviate the public and incoming passengers of the stress and inconvenience of foreign travel by closely monitoring and coordinating the BOQ with other agencies. It will facilitate and speed up processing while adhering to health regulations and monitoring via the eArrival Card.

To prevent delays upon arrival, inbound visitors to the Philippines can now fill out the eArrival Card 72 hours before departure. Beginning 1 November 2022, pre-registration for the eArrival platform will be required.

Furthermore, after negotiations to rationalise the essential data and information in the forms, only travel details, profile information, and health declarations will be asked for. Following registration, a QR code is generated as a “scan and go” mechanism to reduce processing time at entrance points.

The eArrival Card is free for all travellers and can be accessible temporarily through the official website onehealthpass.com.ph until the new platform and website are launched and moved to the official government domain. It aims to reduce traveller delays and annoyance and supports the country’s tourist industry while also safeguarding the health and safety of both foreign and domestic visitors.

The DoH, represented by Officer-in-Charge Dr Maria Rosario Singh-Vergeire, recently opened the 73rd Session of the World Health Organisation’s Regional Committee for the Western Pacific by presenting the Philippines’ forward-thinking plans to strengthen health security in the country and the region.

With the vision “For the Future: Towards the Healthiest and Safest Region,” the committee has made health security one of its four thematic priorities. This helped the region respond quickly and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The same priority is in line with the DOH’s strategic goals, which are to help people be healthy, protect them from health risks, care for their health and wellness, and strengthen health institutions and the health workforce, as stated in the new Health Sector Strategy for 2023–2028.

The DoH revealed that the country is taking steps toward a shared vision of Health Security, such as setting up a reliable primary care system, making the Philippine Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Virology Institute of the Philippines (VIP), and training enough and qualified healthcare workers.

The health department has also pointed out that other key initiatives are making big strides in the Philippines’ health sector and contributing to national health security. These include tackling antimicrobial resistance, non-communicable diseases, and mental health; building healthcare facilities that can withstand climate change and are good for the environment; starting Health Futures Strategic Dialogues; and making sure that indicators are used consistently.

The DoH is encouraging the building of more speciality hospitals so that people can get speciality care closer to home. Setting up the Specialty Centres is in line with the Philippine Health Facility Development Plan (PHFDP) 2020-2040.

This plan gives a clear investment roadmap and allocation framework for building healthcare facilities all over the country based on the current and projected disease burden and the needs of the population. The goal of the PHFDP is to improve efficiency and fairness and provide a model for service delivery that is in line with the Universal Health Care Act.

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