âEntry of foreigners a work in progressâ
The decision will cover foreigners with visas issued by the immigration bureau pursuant to the Omnibus Investments Code and Republic Act No. 8756, which details the requirements of multinational companies that intend to set up headquarters in the Philippines.
STAR/Krizjohn Rosales, file
‘Entry of foreigners a work in progress’
Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 26, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The proposal to allow more foreigners to enter the Philippines is still a work in progress because the government has to consider various factors, including the number of travelers the country could accept during the holidays, a Cabinet official said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) would allow foreign investors to enter the country next month as part of the government’s effort to reopen the economy.

The decision will cover foreigners with visas issued by the immigration bureau pursuant to the Omnibus Investments Code and Republic Act No. 8756, which details the requirements of multinational companies that intend to set up headquarters in the Philippines.

Some sectors have expressed disappointment over the relaxed travel protocol as foreigners who have Filipino partners are still barred from visiting the country.

IATF vice chairman and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions on travel should be done gradually.

“I can’t predict when we will allow the entry of foreigners who belong to other categories. Basically, it’s a work in progress. It’s something that is being studied. We are looking at the numbers. The point is we are opening (the country) but we don’t want to do it in haste,” Nograles said in an online forum last Saturday.

“We appeal for some patience. It’s moving and we listen to all requests... It has to be calculated and very calibrated so our system would not be overwhelmed,” he added.

Nograles said the government is studying the carrying capacity of the Philippines, noting that several overseas Filipinos and migrant workers are expected to come to the country during Christmas season.

“Many people also wish to come here for work-related reasons. In other words, we are calculating the carrying capacity, how many are anticipated to come home, how many OFWs (overseas Filipino workers), all these are being studied to determine if we have the carrying capacity in anticipation of this coming Christmas season,” he said.

Nograles said officials are also identifying countries with low and medium COVID-19 prevalence and those that are accepting travelers from the Philippines.

“There are discussions on reciprocity. Some countries accept travelers from the Philippines. In a manner of reciprocity we may also be open to them. But the other question is whether that country has low or medium prevalence,” he added.

Nograles said the IATF has not decided on whether to admit travelers from countries with low or medium prevalence of COVID-19.

He said while the health department has crafted guidelines for travelers from countries with low to medium COVID-19 prevalence, it was only done in preparation for the reopening of the Philippines to more foreign visitors. Nograles also advised Filipinos leaving for abroad to be aware of the health requirements set by the country they wish to visit.

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