President Rodrigo Duterte has advised Filipinos to strictly follow the conditions imposed for non-essential travel abroad amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Duterte made the remarks in a taped public address aired on state-run PTV-4 early Wednesday after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on Monday lifted the suspension of non-essential outbound travel by Filipinos.
“The suspension of non-essential travel by Filipinos is now lifted. All exit travel restrictions are also lifted. But the conditions for outbound travel should be remembered by Filipinos who want to go out of the country,” Duterte said.
In related developments:
· The Philippine National Police on Wednesday ordered all commanders, especially in Eastern Visayas, to further strengthen border control amid reports of locally stranded individuals sneaking into various areas where a travel ban is in effect.
· A House leader on Wednesday renewed his appeal for the inter-agency task force on the COVID-19
Response and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to allow more repatriation flights for the Filipino workers stranded abroad.
Rep. Mike Defensor reminded the CAAP, the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Labor and Employment that they should work together to bring in more Filipino workers who have been stuck in their host countries since the coronavirus outbreak more than three months ago.
· The Philippines has issued a temporary moratorium on the participation of Filipinos in the United States Exchange Visitor Program amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Philippine Exchange Visitor Program Committee, in an advisory, cited the “urgent nature and life-threatening implications” associated with the health crisis that continues to affect citizens and economies worldwide.
Under IATF Resolution 52 approved on Monday, Filipinos traveling on tourist visas must submit confirmed round-trip tickets before they can be allowed to embark on non-essential outbound travel.
Filipino travelers should also submit travel and health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded, and hospitalization in case of infection.
They should also show proof of allowed entry by the destination country in accordance with their travel, health and quarantine restrictions.
A declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, including the risk of delay in their return trip, should also be executed.
Upon the travelers’ return, the guidelines set by the National Task Force against COVID-19 for returning Filipinos, such as testing and mandatory quarantine, should be observed.
Duterte said the conditions must be followed to ensure the safety of Filipino travelers.
“This is not only a mandate here in the Philippines. This is so because COVID is still rampaging,” Duterte said.
The non-essential outbound travel restrictions on Filipinos were imposed in March to stop the further transmission of COVID-19 in the country.