International travel still restricted under GCQ, PH Immigration bureau says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020   •   785

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Friday that international travel restrictions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will still be implemented despite the easing of community quarantine protocols in Metro Manila.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that international travel restrictions imposed under the enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine are still in place unless these are lifted or eased by the national government.

“As a consequence, our operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and our personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment,” Morente said.

“Nonetheless, we assure the public that we are always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Immigration acting port operations chief Grifton Medina said that BI officers at the NAIA currently serve an average of only 20 to 30 flights a day, a third of which are special flights that ferry medical supplies and other kinds of cargo into the country.

As for the passenger flights, Medina said these are mostly repatriation flights that transport returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their home countries.

Under existing guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Infectious Diseases (IATF), only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

All foreigners can leave anytime but Filipinos are not allowed to depart unless they are permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination.

Metro Manila will be placed under GCQ beginning June 1 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to ease quarantine restrictions.

Under GCQ, limited operations of public transportation will be allowed to resume and more businesses are allowed to reopen.

Public urged to cooperate as NCR shifts to quarantine alert levels system

Robie de Guzman   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has called for public cooperation as the pilot implementation of granular lockdowns and quarantine alert levels system in the National Capital Region (NCR) begins Thursday.

In a statement, PNP chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the public can help ensure the success of the test by strictly adhering to protocols and being mindful of their own protection from the dreaded COVID-19.

“Sa pag-umpisa ng Alert Level 4 at granular lockdown sa Metro Manila ngayong araw, muling nakikiusap ang inyong PNP sa ating mga kababayan na makiisa at isapuso ang mga alintuntuning ipinapatupad para sa kaligtasan ng lahat,” he said.

Authorities on Thursday began the pilot implementation of the new alert levels system in Metro Manila that seek to curb COVID-19 cases and allow some industries to resume operations.

Metro Manila has been placed under alert level 4 due to high case counts and healthcare utilization rate.

Under the second highest alert level, certain restrictions will be imposed on establishments and activities that are classified as 3 Cs – closed spaces, crowded areas, and activities that promote close contact.

The policy allows certain indoor activities under specific seating capacity for fully vaccinated individuals. Granular lockdowns will also be implemented in particular barangays, buildings and other areas with high infection rate.

In the duration of the said system, curfew hours will be shortened to 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.

Eleazar said police personnel will also continue to implement quarantine and public health protocols.

“Naniniwala ang inyong PNP na ang patuloy na pagsuway ng ilan nating kababayan ay isa sa mga dahilan ng pagtaas ng kaso. Kaya hinihikayat natin ang ating mga kababayan na isa-puso ang mga alintuntuning ito kasama ang pagrespeto sa mas maraming bilang ng mga Pilipino na sumusunod sa mga patarakan at ang pagbibigay ng malasakit sa ating mga healthcare workers na bugbog na sa patuloy na pagdami ng mga kaso ng COVID,” he said.

Data from the PNP showed that a total of 224,626 violators were accosted in Metro Manila alone for violation of the minimum public health safety from August 21 to September 15 when the National Capital Region is under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine.

A total of 87,729 were accosted for curfew violation and another 15,296 for violation of the ban on unnecessary travel for non-Authorized Persons Outside Residence.

In the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, a total of 1,153,833 violators were accosted for violating of public health protocols, curfew and prohibition on unnecessary travels from August 21 to September 15, the PNP said.

BI issues lookout bulletin order vs Michael Yang, 8 others

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has issued an Immigration Lookout Bulletin Order (ILBO) against former presidential adviser on economic affairs Michael Yang, also known as Yang Hong Ming.

Yang is among the subjects of an ongoing Senate investigation on the budget utilization of government-procured pandemic response supplies for alleged overpricing.

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, the ILBO was issued in compliance to the order from the Department of Justice (DOJ) following a request from Senator Richard Gordon being the chair of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee.

“This matter is of national interest. We have made the proper arrangements, and our immigration officers are now on the lookout for the possible departure of the suspect personalities,” Morente said.

Meanwhile, pursuant to a September 7 order from the DOJ, former chief of the Procurement Service of the Department of Budget and Management (PS-DBM) Atty. Lloyd Christopher Lao was also placed under lookout bulletin.

Aside from Lao and Yang, the BI also placed under ILBO Overall Deputy Ombudsman Atty. Warren Rex Liong and Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.’s executives Twinkle Dargani, Huang Tzu Yen, Krizle Grace Mago, Justine Garado, Linconn Ong, and Mohit Dargani.

The BI clarified that an ILBO is for monitoring the movement of subjects who might attempt to place themselves beyond the reach of the legal process by leaving the country.

“An ILBO is issued for prudence to double check if there are any pending arrest warrants against the subjects, or monitor their itineraries and whereabouts, should they attempt to leave the country,” the BI explained.

The Senate has started an investigation on Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp. to dig into the P8 billion worth of government contracts despite being a start-up company with only P625,000 in paid-up capital.

Civil registration service outlets in Metro Manila to reopen on Sept. 16 — PSA

Robie de Guzman   •   September 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Statistic Authority (PSA) on Wednesday announced that all its Civil Registration Service Outlets in Metro Manila will reopen on Sept. 16, Thursday.

The PSA, however, said its service outlets will operate at a reduced capacity.

“Only clients with prior appointments issued through the Civil Registration Service Query Verification Unit email address will be served,” the agency said in its website.

The PSA also said that customers at the service outlet in East Avenue, Quezon City who were issued with a queue ticket number prior to the declaration of enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine will be served according to schedule and color code. The complete schedule can be viewed here.

Those with urgent matters or emergency cases identified by the PSA may be given priority appointments provided valid proof of the emergency is submitted through the agency’s channels.

“Customers will receive a confirmation email and the details of the scheduled appointment,” the PSA said.

“Strictly no walk-in customers are allowed. Your health and wellness is our primary concern,” it added.

Customers must use StaySafe.ph App to enter the PSA premises.

For more information about the PSA Appointment System, clients may contact the following telephone numbers: (02) 8461-0500 loc.702 and 703.

The government earlier announced it will be piloting the quarantine alert levels system in Metro Manila on Sept. 16.

The region will be placed under alert level 4, which prohibits the following from going outside their residence:

  • Persons below 18 years old
  • Persons over 65 years old
  • Those with immunodeficiencies, co-morbidities, or other health risks
  • Pregnant women

Residents will only be allowed to leave their homes when accessing essential goods and services or going to work in permitted industries and offices.

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