Travel rules for foreigners tightened

March 14, 2020

IMMIGRATIION Commissioner Jaime Morente yesterday announced the expansion of travel restrictions for foreign nationals amidst the COVID-2019 outbreak.

According to Morente, following the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte and as recommended by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID), the Bureau of Immigration will implement additional travel restrictions for arriving passengers from Iran and Italy by 12 midnight of March 16.

“Passengers coming from, or has transited through Iran and Italy in the last fourteen days, shall be required to present a medical certificate issued by competent medical authorities within the last 48 hours prior to arrival in the country certifying that they are COVID-2019 free,” said Morente.

Morente added that should the foreign passengers present a medical certificate, they will be referred to the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ) for a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

“However, if they fail to present a medical certificate, they will be denied entry to the country,” Morente stated.

Exempted from the restrictions are Filipino citizens including their foreign spouse and children, holders of permanent resident visas, and members of the diplomatic corps. Morente clarified that those exempted will still be referred to the BOQ for the 14-day quarantine, based on existing guidelines of the Department of Health.

Current travel restrictions for travelers coming from and going to China, Hong Kong, Macau, and North Gyeongsang including Daegu and Cheongdo are still in place.

The DOH, according to a Memorandum from Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, may also grant exemptions based on humanitarian considerations in favor of outbound travelers traveling to jurisdictions where travel restrictions are currently in place.

Meanwhile, Morente announced the lifting of travel restrictions for Balik-Manggagawa Overseas Filipino Workers returning to China.  “Balik-Manggagawa OFWs deployed in China will be allowed to return there, except to those deployed in Hubei Province.  They will be required to execute a declaration signifying their knowledge and understanding of the risks involved,” he announced.

“These are temporary measures that the government has imposed to prevent the further spread of the COVID-2019,” said Morente.  “Bear with us as we implement these restrictions, for everyone’s health and safety,” he added.