Taiwan gov’t includes foreign nationals in mask rationing amid nCoV outbreak

Marje Pelayo   •   February 6, 2020   •   732

TAIWAN — Filipinos working and living in the country are now allowed to purchase surgical masks under a new system imposed by the National Health Insurance Administration (NHIA).

The new rationing system which starts at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday (February 6), allows all foreign nationals to use their national health insurance (NHI) cards or other forms of ID to obtain surgical face masks as protection against potential infection with the 2019 novel coronavirus .

Meanwhile, foreign nationals who do not have an NHI card can also purchase surgical masks by presenting a valid Alien Resident Certificate (ARC) or entry permit.

Under the new rationing system, Taiwan nationals and foreigners will be allowed to buy two masks per week based on the last digit of the ID number on the holder’s NHI card, ARC or entry permit.

Schedule of mask purchase will be as follows:

  • Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays – ID numbers ending with odd digit
  • Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays – ID numbers ending with even digit
  • Sundays – All Taiwan nationals and foreigners

The price of each surgical mask remains at NT$5 (US$0.16 or PHP8.50), according to NHIA, and will only be available in 6,000 drugstores and pharmacies contracted by the agency which are identifiable by the NHI logo on the storefront.

According to NHIA records, there are 50,000 foreign nationals in Taiwan who do not have NHI coverage.

These include students and other foreign residents who have been in Taiwan for less than six months; foreign or migrant workers who have not acquired their Alien Resident Certificates (ARCs); Chinese students who are not eligible for NHI coverage; and some foreign diplomats who have not enrolled in the NHI system.

The mask rationing program is Taiwan government’s latest effort to guarantee sufficient supply of masks in the country amid the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has infected thousands in China and has spread to more than 28 countries across the globe.

BI reminds registered aliens: 2021 annual report only until March 1

Marje Pelayo   •   February 10, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminds all foreign nationals in the country that they have only until March 1 to appear in person to the agency for their 2021 annual report.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente stressed that this year’s annual report of aliens will not be extended.

Under the Alien Registration Act of 1950, all aliens with immigrant and non-immigrant visas are required to report in person to the BI within the first 60 days of every calendar year.

Morente warned that any failure to comply with the report may result in fines, visa cancelation, deportation, or imprisonment.”

Morente also advised foreigners who have not yet made the report to immediately register with the BI’s online appointment system at http://e-services.immigration.gov.ph to obtain their slots. 

Only 800 slots are reserved per day, Morente said, while Saturdays are reserved to accredited entities and remote reporting for bulk applicants.

Meanwhile, BI alien registration division chief Atty. Jose Carlitos Licas reminded that foreigners who are out of the country during the 60-day period can still make the report within 30 days upon their return to the country, provided their re-entry permits are still valid.

Aside from the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila, aliens may also report to the nearest participating BI field, satellite or extension office.

BI reminds foreigners to register online for annual reporting

Marje Pelayo   •   December 11, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau  of Immigration (BI) reminds foreign nationals registered in the country to report in person to the agency starting January 2021.

In line with this, BI Commissioner Jaime Morente urged them to immediately register with the BI’s online appointment system so they can be given their schedules for their annual report.

Morente stressed that the annual report of aliens is in compliance with the Alien Registration Act of 1950.

The law requires all aliens with immigrant and non-immigrant visas to report in person to the Bureau within the first 60 days of every calendar year.  

The 2021 annual report period of aliens will be held on Jan. 1 up to March 1.

Morente stressed they will not accept walk-in transactions.

“As with all other transactions, we will not allow the entry of walk-in foreigners who wish to make their annual report.  They have to obtain their schedule via our online appointment system,” the BI chief stressed.  

“Eight hundred slots for the AR is reserved per day, while Saturdays are reserved for those availing the services of accredited entities, as well as remote AR for bulk applicants,” he added.

As for remote alien registration, according to Morente, it may be requested by embassies or foreign groups, and may be considered if the number of reportees exceeds 10 individuals.

He explained that under the law, foreigners who are holders of immigrant and non-immigrant visas and were issued alien certificate of registration identity card (ACR I-Card) are required to make the annual report.

“Failure to do so may result in fines, visa cancelation, deportation, or imprisonment,” Morente warned.

He said that aside from the BI main office in Intramuros, Manila, aliens may also report to the nearest participating BI field, satellite or extension office.

Lawyer Jose Carlitos Licas, BI alien registration chief, said foreigners who are out of the country during the 60-day period can still make the report within 30 days from the date of their return to the country, so long as their re-entry permits are still valid.

Aliens must present their original ACR I-Card and valid passport as well as pay a P300-annual report fee and P10-legal research fee, Licas said.

For aliens below the age of 14, Licas said their parent or guardian can make the report for them. Senior citizens and persons with disability are exempted from personal appearance, he added, and may file through a representative with a Special Power of Attorney.

DFA warns vs ‘travel exemption fee’ scam targeting foreigners

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 11, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday warned the public against a travel fee scam targeting foreign nationals who wish to enter the Philippines amid imposed travel restrictions.

In an advisory the DFA said they received reports of a “travel exemption fee” that supposedly allows the entry of foreign nationals into the country.

The DFA reiterated that it does not collect such fees “or any kind of fee whatsoever for the purpose of allowing foreign nationals to enter the country.”

“Foreign nationals should be guided by the latest advisory of the Bureau of Immigration as to who are allowed to enter the Philippines during the State of Public Health Emergency,” the advisory reads.

The foreign affairs department also said travel restrictions are still being implemented in the country amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. AAC

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