BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the statement over the weekend after receiving a report that six Filipinos were recently barred from going to Cambodia via special chartered flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
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Filipino tourists still barred from traveling abroad – BI
Rudy Santos (The Philippine Star) - July 6, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration (BI) reminded Filipinos intending to travel abroad as tourists that they are still restricted from leaving the country amid the continuing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the statement over the weekend after receiving a report that six Filipinos were recently barred from going to Cambodia via special chartered flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The passengers were reportedly offloaded for being mere tourists whose purpose in going abroad was considered non-essential, and neither did they fall under the category of travelers exempted from the travel ban while the Philippines remains under community quarantine.

“We want to emphasize and reiterate that Filipinos are still prohibited from leaving the country unless they are overseas Filipino workers, holders of study visas, or permanent residents in the country of their destination,” Morente said.

The BI chief appealed to the public for understanding, saying that the bureau will continue to implement existing international travel restrictions until these are lifted or relaxed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

According to BI port operations acting chief Grifton Medina, the six passengers were offloaded from their flight last June 29, after they informed the immigration officer that they were going to Phnom Penh to attend a business meeting on shrimp farming.

It was learned that there have already been several instances of departing Filipino tourists, who were barred from boarding their flights at the NAIA since the government imposed restrictions on international travel three months ago due to the pandemic.

Medina urged Filipinos who wish to embark on leisure trips or visit their relatives to be patient and wait for the IATF to lift travel restrictions.

“These travel restrictions are only temporary and we should always bear in mind that the government implemented these measures to protect our countrymen against this deadly coronavirus,” he added.

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