Overseas Filipino workers in the United Arab Emirates and Oman have asked the government to reconsider its extension of the travel ban on certain countries because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“UAE and Oman are some of the top destinations of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the Middle East and a ban on travelers from these countries has been in effect since May 15. This restriction is causing a lot of suffering among OFWs – especially those who are on vacation, who lost jobs, whose visas have expired or are expiring, and who are pregnant and are sick but are fit to travel – and their families,” said OFW group Migrante-Middle East.
The government on Monday extended the travel ban on UAE, Oman, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal until the end of the month.
Migrante launched an online petition to seek an end to the travel restriction through https://secure.avaaz.org/community_petitions/en/duterte_government_lift_ph_travel_ban_for_ofws_in_uae_oman/
“We agree that the spread of COVID-19 and its variants should be stopped. This does not automatically mean imposing travel bans that punish OFWs. What the government should do is scale and speed up its COVID-19 testing efforts, even as it provides free quarantine facilities for all returning OFWs and immediate medical attention to those who will test positive,” the group said.
For its part, the Bureau of Immigration said it will implement the travel ban on all passengers arriving from the seven countries listed by the government.
“Those with a travel history from these countries within the last 14 days before arrival are also temporarily banned from entering,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said.
He said transiting passengers, or those who did not exit the airport
or were cleared by immigration in said countries, are not covered by
the said ban.
“They are not considered to have been admitted in a country if they
are there for a mere layover,” he said.