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DOH to probe exec on travel medical insurance

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
DOH to probe exec on travel medical insurance
The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has allowed foreigners with long-term visas to enter the Philippines starting Aug. 1. One of several conditions set is they must secure travel medical insurance.
The STAR / Rudy Santos, file

MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Health (DOH) will look into allegations that a “lower ranking official” is taking advantage of foreign nationals with permanent resident visas who are returning to the Philippines in terms of insurance coverage.

In an interview yesterday, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said he will investigate this because he will never tolerate anomalous activities at the DOH.

“I will look into that. Who is that official?” he noted when asked for comment.

A source told The STAR that no insurance company was willing to cover coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The source added that an insurance company allegedly owned by a lower-ranking DOH official is cashing in on this situation with a capital of only P10,000 and reserves of P10,000.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed foreigners with long-term visas to enter the Philippines starting Aug. 1. One of several conditions set is they must secure travel medical insurance.

Swab test before entry

Abu Dhabi, Dubai, South Korea and Hong Kong will require all passengers coming from the Philippines to show swab test results starting Saturday, certifying they are negative for COVID-19.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the operator of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), said in an advisory yesterday that the four international destinations require all passengers coming from the Philippines to present a COVID-19 RT-PCR negative test result, or certification issued by government recognized accredited testing institutions.

The said test result or certification will be needed before they are allowed to board flights.

On Monday, budget carrier Cebu Pacific also announced that it is requiring passengers bound for Davao to show swab test results certifying they are negative for COVID-19.

Cebu Pacific said passengers should undergo the RT-PCR test within 48 hours before their departure, and that a coronavirus antibody blood or rapid test result is not acceptable.

Meanwhile, according to a Bureau of Immigration (BI) advisory yesterday, only foreigners with existing long-term visas can enter the country starting Aug. 1.

“For the information of the public, the entry of foreign tourists, non-immigrant visa holders and other categories of aliens are still prohibited. They will be turned back if they land in any of our ports of entry,” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said.

According to BI Port Operations Division acting chief Grifton Medina, there are only four visa categories of aliens who will be allowed entry starting next month: those who were issued immigrant visas under Section 13 of the Immigration act; those who acquired resident status under Republic Act 7919 or Alien Social Integration Act; those who availed of Executive Order 324 or Alien Legalization Program; and native-born foreign nationals.

Medina also stressed that foreigners married to Filipinos and their dependents, as well as foreign diplomats, can also come here as earlier resolved by the IATF. – Richmond Mercurio, Rudy Santos, Robertzon Ramirez

COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
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