MANILA, Philippines – The government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Friday said that Filipinos being repatriated would be exempted from the country’s entry restrictions imposed on travelers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
IATF and Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that in case of Philippine government-organized repatriation, a prior coordination should be conducted between the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) at least 48 hours prior to the departure of Filipinos from the country of origin.
The DFA and OWWA should also coordinate with the Department of Health-Bureau of Quarantine (DOH-BOQ), Department of Transportation and its One-Stop Shop, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the National Task Force against COVID-19 Task Group for the Management of returning Overseas Filipinos.
In the case of non-Philippine government repatriation, Roque said all Filipino repatriates from the countries with travel restrictions must present a negative RT-PCR test result taken within 48 hours prior to boarding the aircraft or vessel.
“The airline or the shipping line is responsible to check on this requirement. A copy of the negative RT-PCR test result of the repatriate shall be submitted to the BOQ upon arrival in the port of entry in the Philippines,” he said.
Roque also said that prior approval from the BOQ is needed for the entry of flight or vessel carrying Filipino repatriates prior to its movement from point of origin.
“In this connection, the concerned local manning agency (in the case of seafarers), the Philippine recruitment agency (for land-based workers), or the sponsoring Philippine government agency shall submit an exemption request to the DOH-BOQ, the approval of which is tantamount to IATF’s approval on the repatriation effort,” he said.
All repatriates from countries with travel restrictions in effect are required to undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine from the date of arrival in the Philippines, with the date of arrival being the first day.
Meanwhile, the IATF allowed foreign nationals holding Special Resident Retiree’s Visa to enter the Philippines without the need of an entry exemption document, Roque said.