SEN. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson called for a vaccine passport system "in sync with other countries" to allow easier travel to the Philippines.

The senator on Monday said many returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and foreign investors are reluctant to come to the country because of its tight protocols.

He said they were apprehensive about the requirement for them to spend more than a week in a quarantine facility.

"For our returning OFWs, at most, we might require them to take a swab test then allow them to go home, then require them to stay at home for 10 days," Lacson said.

"No need to require them to stay at a hotel. Most of the time, OFWs return to the country because of an emergency," he said in a television interview.

"If you are an OFW and you are required to be quarantined for 10 days, how many days of your leave will go to waste? I don't think that makes sense," he added.

The mandatory long quarantine policy also turns off investors, the senator said.

"If a potential investor who would like to come here learns of the requirements that include a swab test and stay at a quarantine facility not of his or her choice, would he or she still come?" he asked.

He urged the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to finetune the protocols to address these problems and ensure the protocols are "in sync with those of other countries."

Lacson also stressed anew the need to allow local government officials and other implementers of health protocols "to have enough leeway to do their job."

"Perhaps our regulations should be a bit open-ended instead of being too restrictive, to allow those on the ground to make decisions," he said.