Philippines revises travel rules, allows entry of all Filipinos
Airline ground staff (L) wearing protective gear work at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020.
AFP/Ted Aljibe

Philippines revises travel rules, allows entry of all Filipinos

(Philstar.com) - March 19, 2021 - 9:02am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has revised its rules on suspension of entry into the Philippines, now allowing all Filipinos, including those who are not migrant workers, to return to the country beginning March 22.

“All Filipino citizens whether a returning Overseas Filipino or overseas Filipino worker shall be allowed to return to the Philippines,” a memorandum circular issued Friday read.

In a revised memo signed by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, entry of most foreign nationals will be suspended from March 22 to April 21. The following are exempted:

  • Diplomats and members of international organizations, and their dependents provided they hold a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)(2) visa, as the case may be, at the time of entry;
  • Foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duly endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs-Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration, provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry;
  • Foreign seafarers under the ‘Green Lanes’ program for crew change provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa at the time of entry;
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them provided they have valid visas at the time of entry; and
  • Emergency, humanitarian and other analogous cases approved by the chairperson of the NTF COVID-19 or his duly authorized representative, provided the foreign nationals have valid visas at the time of entry.

Between March 22 and April 21, the entry of Filipinos and exempted foreigners will be subject to the arrival quota of only 1,500 passengers per day.

This comes as the country battles another surge of COVID-19 infections a year after the pandemic began. The Philippines reported Thursday 5,290 new COVID-19 infections, the second highest daily count in 2021, taking the caseload to 640,984.

Aside from temporary suspension of entry into the Philippines, the government is also implementing granular lockdowns in hotspots, imposing curfews and liquor ban, and banning minors from going out of their homes. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 18, 2021 - 10:22am

Find the latest travel and tourism news from around the world amid the coronavirus pandemic. Main image by AFP/Romeo Gacad

June 18, 2021 - 10:22am

The pandemic task force's directives on quarantine and testig supercede those of local government units, it says in a press statement through the Presidential Communications Operations Office. 

"[T]he IATF reiterates the strict enforcement of current testing and quarantine protocols duly approved and issued by the IATF for inbound international travelers in all ports of the country regardless of any specific protocols that may be issued the local government units on the contrary," it says.

It adds national government agencies have been instructed "to ensure strict adherence to the abovementioned directive."

June 17, 2021 - 1:04pm

Japan says it will make a vaccine passport available from next month for Japanese travellers, as governments around the world experiment with ways to relaunch tourism and business trips.

"We are preparing to issue a certificate of vaccination for those who need one... when they visit foreign countries," top government spokesman Katsunobu Kato tells reporters.

The certificate will be paper-based rather than digital and will be issued by local governments from sometime next month, he says. — AFP

June 17, 2021 - 11:41am

The Department of Tourism says there has been a 61.2% decrease in the contribution of the tourism industry to the Philippine economy in 2020. 

The Tourism Direct Gross Value Added, based on the data of the Philippine Statistics Authority, dropped to P973.31 billion last year compared with the P2.51 trillion in 2019.

"This is only 5.4% of  the industry’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product, a steep decline from the 12.8 percent in 2019," the DOT says in a statement.

June 11, 2021 - 7:53am

Two guests on one of the first cruise ships to sail from North America since the COVID-19 pandemic hit tested positive Thursday, the cruise company said, adding all passengers and crew had been vaccinated.

The Celebrity Millennium, carrying about 600 passengers and 650 crew, set sail from the Caribbean island of St. Maarten on Saturday for a seven-day including stops in Barbados, Aruba and Curacao.

"Two guests sharing a stateroom onboard Celebrity Millennium tested positive for COVID-19 while conducting the required end-of-cruise testing," Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

"The individuals are asymptomatic and currently in isolation."

It said that the ship exceeded US COVID-19 guidelines, and all guests were required to show proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test before sailing. — AFP

June 9, 2021 - 10:04am

The US State Department urges Americans to reconsider travel to the Philippines because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for the Philippines due to COVID-19, indicating a high level of COVID-19 in the country," it says in a travel advisory, saying also that there are restrictions on the entry of US citizens into the country.

"Additionally, exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping," it also says.

The US State Department says US citizens should not travel to the Sulu Archipelago and Marawi City because of security risks, which include "crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping." Travel to other areas of Mindanao should also be reconsidered for the same reasons.

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