Gov’t allows outbound non-essential travels for Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   October 16, 2020   •   163

MANILA, Philippines – Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced on Friday (October 16) that the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 finally lifted restrictions on outbound non-essential travels for Filipinos effective October 21.

IATF Resolution 79 stressed, however, that Filipino travelers should have a confirmed roundtrip tickets, proper travel and health insurance for tourist visa holders and a declaration understanding the risk of COVID-19.

They are, likewise, required to submit a negative antigen test result that is valid within 24 hours prior to departure.

Outbound Filipino travelers should also follow the COVID-19 guidelines imposed by the National Task Force for returning overseas Filipinos.

Likewise, interzonal travels from areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) to areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) are also permitted even those previously considered as non-authorised persons outside of residence.

“Pinayagan na po ng ating IATF ang interzonal travel maski po yung mga non-APORs between GCQ and MGCQ areas at pinapayagan po rin ang travel between MGCQ papunta po dun sa madedeklarang mga new normal,” Roque announced.

The Palace official also announced that as part of the further reopening of the economy, business establishments like malls are now allowed to hold sales and marketing events to attract customers and to promote economic activity in the country.

However, strict compliance to the guidelines imposed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is expected in mall operations.

“Ang mga establishments at mga malls may hold activities para magkaroon ng economic o business activity, it po yung mga sale, [Establishments and malls may hold sales events to promote economic or business activity,]” Roque said.

Pero subject po ito sa [But still it is subject to] DTI guideline in the operation of malls and shopping malls,” Roque concluded. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Gov’t allows religious gatherings at 30% seating capacity in GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The government has made another step to further relax community restrictions under the recently issued Resolution No. 80 approved by the Inter – Agency Task Force against COVID-19.

On Friday (October 23), Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced that religious gatherings are now allowed up to 30% seating capacity from the previous 10% in areas covered by general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.

“Pinayagan na ang religious gatherings sa mga lugar sa ilalim ng GCQ na hanggang 30 percent of the seating or venue capacity,” he said.

“Ito rin po ay alinsunod doon sa mga naging rekomendasyon ng ating mga Metro Manila mayors,” he added.

Meanwhile, foreign investors or foreign nationals who are investors’ visa holders may also enter the country, according to the IATF.

Roque stressed, however, that this does not include foreign tourists visa holders.

“Hindi po lahat ng foreign nationals ang ina-allow,” Roque emphasized.

Roque clarified that only foreigners who are holders of the following requirements are allowed to enter the country:

  • Holders of investors visa; 
  • Holders of 4782 visa issued by the Department of Justice (DOJ);
  • Holders of visa issued by Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.

Foreigners who are eligible to enter the Philippines still need an existing, valid visa and a pre-booked stay at an accredited quarantine facility among others.

In addition to the above new ruling, the IATF lifted the previous requirement of pre-boarding test for outbound Filipino travelers.

This means anyone who wants to leave the country no longer needs an antigen testing result but they still need to present a negative COVID-19 test result if required by their country of destination or their airline of choice. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Philippines to allow entry to foreigners with investor visas starting Nov. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   October 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign nationals with investors visa will soon be allowed to enter the Philippines, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Thursday allowed the entry of foreigners starting November 1.

“These foreign nationals include those with visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Executive Order No. 226, or the Omnibus Investments Code, as amended, and Republic Act. No. 8756; those with 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice; and those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority,” Roque said in a statement.

The Palace official, however, stressed that the entry of these foreigners to the country is subject to conditions.

“(T)hey must have valid and existing visa at the time of the entry and must likewise have a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility,” Roque said.

“In addition, they must be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry and must follow applicable immigration laws, rules and regulations,” he added.

The government earlier said it will be easing travel restrictions to help the country’s economy recover from the impact of the pandemic.

The Philippines imposed travel restrictions in February to curb the spread of novel coronavirus disease.

BI to ease departure travel restrictions starting October 21

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that it will be implementing eased departure restrictions for Filipino citizens following the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases. 

“Starting October 21, the BI will be allowing the departure of Filipinos with non-essential travel,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

“Outbound tourism is now allowed for Filipinos, subject to compliance with protocols set by the IATF,” he added.

Initially, only foreign nationals, overseas Filipino workers, permanent visa holders, students enrolled abroad, participants accepted in exchange visitor programs, as well as those who had essential travel, were allowed to depart.

Recently, the IATF through Resolution no. 79 further relaxed restrictions now including non-essential travels.

However, the IATF requires outbound Filipino tourists to present a round trip ticket, health and travel insurance, and a negative antigen result at least 24 hours before departure. 

Also, according to the ruling, if the country of destination requires an RT-PCR test, then the same must be presented instead.

Departing Filipinos shall also be required to sign a declaration acknowledging the risks of their travel, to be provided by airline check-in counters. 

Commissioner Morente stressed that after the said process, passengers will still undergo regular immigration assessment.

He clarified, however, that inbound restrictions are still in place. 

“We are on standby for any changes in policy, as directed by the IATF and the President,” he stated.

Currently, only Filipinos, their spouse and minor children are allowed to enter the country holding tourist visas. 

Restrictions allow foreign children with special needs of Filipinos, the foreign parent of minor Filipinos, and the foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs to enter the country.

Those who are eligible to enter are required to secure an entry visa from Philippine embassies or consulates, prior to their arrival.

Apart from said categories, accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents, foreign airline crewmembers, foreign seafarers with 9(c) visas, and foreigners with long-term visas are also allowed.

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