Philippines mulls travel ban to Indonesia over surge in Delta COVID-19 variant cases

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2021   •   338

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is eyeing a travel ban on passenger flights from Indonesia over reports of increasing cases of Delta COVID-19 variant in the Southeast Asian country.

In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) will consider calls for travel ban to prevent the entry of more cases of the highly transmissible Delta variant in the country.

“I am sure it will be considered by the IATF,” Roque said when asked about the possibility of imposing travel restrictions on Indonesia.

Indonesia is currently vaccinating its population but in the recent days, it has seen an alarming spike in COVID-19 cases dominated by the Delta variant.

Roque assured the government continues to implement stringent border controls and monitoring of the country’s backdoor entries in Mindanao, which is closest to Indonesia.

Filipinos being repatriated from Indonesia also undergo tight health and safety protocols to ensure that they are free from the virus.

“Dati na pong mahigpit iyan ‘no, mula noong nagsimula ang pandemya. Lahat po ng repatriation ngayon ng mga Pilipino from that area ‘no, hindi lang Indonesia kasama na rin po sa Sabah, have to be organized repatriation po,” Roque said.

The Philippines has an existing entry ban on passengers from India, and six other countries until June 30 as a precaution against the spread of Delta variant.

The ban excludes Filipinos being repatriated by the government and the private sector.

IATF approves Comelec’s voting simulation in San Juan City

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has approved the voting simulation of Commission on Elections in San Juan City.

The IATF-EID released Resolution No. 144, dated on October 14. Under the said resolution, participants of the voting simulation are exempted from any travel restrictions and shall not be required to show proof of vaccination status and/or be required to undergo COVID-19 testing.

“The IATF recognizes that voting simulation exercises are essential activities and as such, poses no objection to the request of the Commission on Election,” the resolution read.

The simulation, which will be conducted on October 23, aims to determine which policies need to be amended to prevent issues that may occur on election day. AAC

 

 

House assures no delay in transmission of approved 2022 GAA to Senate

Maris Federez   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives (HOR) targets to submit to the Senate the approved Php5.045-trillion General Appropriations Act (GAA) for 2022 on or before October 27.

House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said this will give the Senate enough time to examine the government spending plan for next year.

The amendments made in the proposed budget are as follows:

  • 5 billion for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines, medical assistance for poor families, and the special risk allowance for healthcare workers;
  • 5 billion for five new C130 planes;
  • Php 504 million allotted for the operation of four state universities in the Bangsamoro region;
  • Additional Php10 billion for the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program;
  • Php11 billion for the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) program and livelihood program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) that will be used as an aid to families affected by COVID-19.
  • Php6 billion for service the service contracting program for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers; and
  • Php3 billion for the national broadband program of the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT)

Velasco hopes that the bill will be submitted to Malacañang in December for President Rodrigo Duterte’s approval and signature.  —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

PH updates list of ‘green’ countries

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government on Friday released an updated list of countries classified under green, yellow, and red, Malacañang said.

In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that from October 16 to 31, passengers from Romania will be barred from entering the Philippines after it was placed under the “red” list or classified as high risk for COVID-19.

The “green” list, which is classified as low-risk based on COVID-19 incidence rate, includes the following countries:

  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Bhutan
  • Burkina Faso
  • Cameroon
  • Cayman Islands
  • Chad
  • China (Mainland)
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Cook Islands
  • Eritrea
  • Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
  • Gibraltar
  • Hong Kong
  • Kiribati
  • Madagascar
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Montserrat
  • Nauru
  • New Zealand
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Niue
  • North Korea
  • Northern Mariana Islands
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Saba (Special Municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
  • Saint Helena
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Samoa
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Solomon Islands
  • Sudan
  • Syria,
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Tanzania
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Turkmenistan
  • Tuvalu
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Yemen

All other countries/jurisdictions/territories not mentioned are classified as yellow list, which is classified as moderate risk for COVID-19.

The IATF said that foreign travelers from “green” countries who have completed their COVID-19 vaccination are only required to present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin.

“Upon arrival, no facility-based quarantine will be further required but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day,” the task force added.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated Filipinos from green countries may choose between the following options:

  • Facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken in the quarantine facility upon arrival
  • No facility-based quarantine after getting a negative RT-PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin but the passenger is enjoined to self-monitor for any symptoms until the 14th day.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified, and those vaccinated but failed to comply with the test-before-travel requirements, Roque said they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day.

In the case of foreign nationals, they shall be required to secure hotel reservations for at least 6 days, he added.

“In the case of unvaccinated or partially vaccinated minor children traveling with their fully vaccinated parent/s or guardians, they shall be required to observe the quarantine protocols corresponding to their vaccination status,” Roque said.

“A parent/guardian shall accompany the child in the quarantine facility for the full term of the latter’s facility-based quarantine period,” he added.

On the other hand, travelers from “yellow” countries will have to undergo facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 5th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 10th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 6 days.

For unvaccinated, partially vaccinated, or individuals whose vaccination status cannot be independently verified by Philippine authorities as valid and authentic coming from the “yellow” list, they shall undergo a facility-based quarantine until the release of a negative RT-PCR test taken on the 7th day. After which, they shall be required to undergo home quarantine until their 14th day.

Foreign nationals shall be required to secure their pre-booked accommodation of at least 8 days.

Under IATF guidelines, inbound international travel of all persons, regardless of vaccination status, coming from or who have been to “red” list within the last 14 days prior to arrival to the Philippines shall not be allowed.

“Only Filipinos returning to the country via government-initiated repatriation, non-government-initiated repatriation, and Bayanihan Flights may be allowed entry, subject to testing and quarantine protocols,” Roque said.

These protocols include the following:

  • All arriving passengers shall undergo 14-day quarantine upon arrival. The first 10 days shall be observed in a quarantine facility, with remainder to be completed under home quarantine in their respective local government units of destination.
  • RT-PCR testing shall be conducted on the 7th day. Notwithstanding a negative test result, the arriving passenger shall complete the facility-based quarantine period of 10 days.
  • The Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) shall ensure strict symptom monitoring while in the facility quarantine for 10 days.
  • All passengers merely transiting through a “red” list shall not be deemed as having come from or having been to said country/jurisdiction/territory if they stayed in the airport the whole time and were not cleared for entry by its immigration authorities.
  • Upon arrival in the Philippines, passengers covered by the preceding paragraph shall comply with the existing and testing protocols.

To validate their vaccination status, overseas Filipino workers and their spouse, parent/s, and / or children traveling in the Philippines or abroad, non-OFWs vaccinated in the country or abroad, and foreigners vaccinated in the Philippines can present either of the following:

  • VaxCertPH digital vaccination certificate
  • BOQ/World Health Organization (WHO)-issued International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICV)
  • The national/state digital certificate of the foreign government where they were vaccinated, which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF

In the case of foreigners vaccinated abroad, they can present WHO-issued ICV, or the national/state digital certificate of the foreign government which has accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal agreement unless otherwise permitted by the IATF, Roque said.

 

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