Phl extends travel ban; allows aliens with travel exemption

Marje Pelayo   •   April 19, 2021   •   654

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced that foreigners who were given entry documents prior to the implementation of last month’s travel ban may now enter the country.

In an advisory issued by the Bureau, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said foreigners with entry exemption documents issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) before March 22 are now allowed to enter the country amid an extension of travel restrictions to April 30.

The revised rule is pursuant to the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

Morente said other foreign nationals are still prohibited from entering the Philippines and that the Balikbayan privilege for former Filipinos remains suspended.

“The foreign parents, spouse, and children of Filipinos may enter the country, provided they are traveling with the Filipino principal, and have a valid entry visa,” he said on Sunday (April 18).

Based on the IATF’s policy, aliens with valid entry visas currently allowed to enter the country include:

* Diplomats and members of international organizations with valid 9(e) or 47(a) (2) visas;
* Those involved in medical repatriation endorsed by the DFA and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA); and
* Seafarers with 9(c) visa for crew change; and (4) those with emergency, humanitarian and analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) or his authorized representative.

Morente said travel exemptions are without prejudice to the mandate of the BI to conduct strict screening and formalities on all arriving foreigners.

Immigration Bureau bars entry of passengers from 10 countries

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — After Malacañang’s directive, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has announced expanding the entry ban of passengers which will include those coming from Malaysia and Thailand starting July 25 until July 31.

The two countries are now added to the eight countries that are temporarily banned entry to the Philippines to prevent the further spread and community transmission of emerging COVID-19 variants.

The other countries covered by the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Indonesia.

“Foreigners arriving from said countries or with a travel history there within the last 14 days will be denied entry and will immediately be sent back to their port of origin,” according to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente.

However, the BI official said that Filipinos arriving from these countries as part of repatriation efforts will be allowed entry but will be subjected to set protocols by other government agencies.

He also clarified that those who are already in transit and will be arriving before July 25 will be allowed entry, but will be required to undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine. AAC

Repatriated OFWs from countries on travel ban list to undergo stricter screening — DOLE-

Marje Pelayo   •   July 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is imposing stricter screening of Filipino repatriates following the surge of COVID-19 cases in neighboring countries.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said, all repatriates are required to undergo RT-PCR testing twice.

“Bago sila makaalis doon ay kailangan meron silang testing na. Pagka negative, pwede na silang umalis doon at pagdating dito, panibagong quarantine at panibagong testing,” he said.

Countries covered by the travel ban are: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Oman, the United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.

Bello said they are also looking into including Thailand and Malaysia in the list of countries. The government is closely monitoring the status of transmission in the said countries of the highly contagious Delta variant.

Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) Administrator Hans Leo Cacdac said that upon arrival in the Philippines all OFWs — even the vaccinated ones — are required to undergo a 14-day quarantine. They will only be allowed to go home when they test negative for COVID-19.

All vaccinated OFWs coming from countries without travel bans will have a shorter quarantine period of seven days upon arrival.

“Sabi naman ng Department of Health, matapos ang ika-10 araw ay napakaliit na ng tsansa na dala pa nila yung virus. So sa tingin namin na ayon sa mga dalubhasa ng DOH, safe na yung 14 days,” explained Cacdac.

The official said, there are about 3,000 Filipinos for repatriation from countries covered by the travel ban. From the said number, three batches have already returned to the Philippines.

Cacdac said they are now discussing the additional amount to be requested from the national government as they are now close to depleting their repatriation funds by September. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

DOH eyeing travel ban on Malaysia, Thailand due to Delta COVID-19 variant

Robie de Guzman   •   July 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) on Thursday said it is looking into the possibility of imposing a ban on inbound travelers from Malaysia and Thailand due to the continuing threat of COVID-19, particularly the more contagious Delta variant.

In a public briefing, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the DOH Epidemiology bureau is currently monitoring and evaluating the situation in other countries that reported cases of the variant.

“Tinitingnan natin Malaysia, isa-isahin natin. Tinitingnan din natin ang Thailand kung saan merong parang hindi na mapigilan ang pag-angat ng Delta variant cases. ‘Yan ang ating binabantayan,” he said.

Duque said the Epidemiology bureau is also coordinating with their counterparts for information on the possible inclusion of more countries in the Philippines’ existing list of nations with travel restrictions.

“Pinag-aaralan na rin po yan ng Epidemiology bureau ng DOH at posibleng magbigay ng rekomendasyon para sa IATF kung hahabaan ba ang listahan ng mga travel ban sa mga bansa,” he said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) earlier expanded the country’s list of countries with a travel ban to include Indonesia.

The travel ban on Indonesia, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates, and Oman will be in effect until July 31.

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