UPDATE (14 FEB / 6:10 PM): Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah and Wisma Putra have confirmed that seven Malaysian passengers have been allowed to enter the Philippines, although it was earlier reported that there were 13 Malaysians stranded at the airport.
ORIGINAL STORY (14 FEB / 3:31 PM):
15 travellers from Malaysia have found themselves stranded at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport after Philippine authorities refused them entry into the country. The Star reported that the reason was that the MySejahtera vaccine certificate is not recognised as proof of vaccination by the authorities.
Departing from Kuala Lumpur and arriving in Manila on 13 February, the travellers are made up of 13 Malaysian nationals and two with foreign nationality. According to the report, the Philippine immigration authorities have apparently confiscated their passports and are planning to deport them on 15 February.
Interestingly, passengers from that same flight who were vaccinated in Singapore or the UK were apparently allowed to enter. The Malaysian Ambassador to the Philippines, together with Malaysia Airlines, have tried to negotiate with the authorities, but to no avail.
The travellers were then told that the embassy must wait until morning to liaise with the its Foreign Affairs Ministry to seek approval, stranding them overnight with only benches and the floor to sleep on. Earlier today, Wisma Putra has confirmed that the embassy is still discussing with the local authorities to rectify the situation.
The Malaysian Embassy in Manila @myembassymanila is currently on the ground to assist our stranded fellow Malaysians at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to enter the Philippines. Wisma Putra is liaising with relevant agencies to facilitate the process smoothly.
— Wisma Putra (@MalaysiaMFA) February 14, 2022
The Philippines opened its borders on 10 February to fully-vaccinated foreign travellers with no quarantine requirement. While the current group of Malaysians are being threatened with deportation, user @nosWild earlier tweeted that they and other Malaysian passengers on an 11 February flight to Manila were forced to go through a five-day quarantine instead when the MySejahtera certificate was similarly rejected by the immigration authorities.
An advisory from the Philippines Embassy in Malaysia states that recognised COVID-19 vaccination certificates include the World Health Organisation’s International Certificate of Vaccination, the country’s own VaxCertPH, and the national digital certificate from any country that accepts its certificate. The embassy noted that the Philippines and Malaysia are still in discussion on a mutual recognition agreement between VaxCertPH and MySejahtera which may explain the experience faced by the Malaysian travellers that are currently stranded in Manila’s airport.
(Source: The Star.)