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Pinoys under repatriation programs can enter Philippines â Palace
The government has extended the travel restrictions imposed on passengers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates and Oman until June 30 to prevent the entry of a more infectious COVID-19 variant.
STAR/Miguel de Guzman, file

Pinoys under repatriation programs can enter Philippines – Palace

Alexis Romero (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Filipinos covered by repatriation efforts of the government and manning agencies cleared by the quarantine bureau can still enter the Philippines despite the extension of the travel ban on passengers from seven countries, Malacañang clarified yesterday.

The government has extended the travel restrictions imposed on passengers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates and Oman until June 30 to prevent the entry of a more infectious COVID-19 variant.

The Philippines has been imposing the ban on passengers from India since April 29, and from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka since May 7. The scope of the restriction has been widened to include Middle Eastern countries Oman and United Arab Emirates.

“Let it be clear, however, that Filipinos covered by the repatriation programs of the government and repatriation activities of manning (or) recruitment agencies cleared by the Bureau of Quarantine are not prohibited from entering the Philippines,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement.

“They can enter the country, subject to testing and quarantine protocols. We hope this clarifies the matter,” he added.

Roque noted that the pandemic variant first detected in India is more transmissible, hence the need for continued vigilance.

He previously said the Philippines may keep its borders closed as a precautionary measure against more infectious COVID-19 variants.

As of yesterday, the Philippines has more than 1.35 million confirmed COVID-19 infections, with 57,679 active cases and 23,621 deaths.

Repatriations continue

The government has repatriated 347 distressed Filipinos, including five children affected by the pandemic, from Saudi Arabia, Malacañang said over the weekend.

The Filipinos were sent home during the official visit of President Duterte’s special envoy to Saudi Arabia and presidential assistant on foreign affairs, Robert Borje, to the Middle Eastern kingdom.

The visit seeks to boost bilateral ties between Manila and Riyadh, advance labor reform cooperation and promote the welfare of more than 800,000 Filipinos in Saudi Arabia.

The repatriates flew home through a Philippine Airlines chartered flight, according to a statement issued by Malacañang last Saturday. A second repatriation flight is expected next week. Upon their arrival in the Philippines, the repatriated Filipinos will be given financial assistance.

“I have instructed (the) Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to use Bayanihan 2 funds to give all repatriated OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) today P10,000 each as reintegration financial assistance,” Duterte said in a video message.

Bayanihan 2 is the extension of a law that funded the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The law allocated funds for repatriation-related expenses and other forms of assistance for OFWs affected by the health crisis.

A total of 403,234 overseas Filipinos had been repatriated by the government since the start of the pandemic.

Philippine officials also held a virtual town hall meeting with representatives of the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia last Saturday to discuss the concerns of migrant workers.

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson pushed yesterday for the fast-tracking of standard quarantine protocols for vaccinated Filipinos, to benefit not just returning OFWs but also the economy.

The senator threw his full support behind the National Task Force against COVID-19’s move to draw up standard quarantine protocols for Filipinos vaccinated here and abroad, saying economic recovery cannot wait.

“Please make it sooner, not later. Mind the economy for a change,” he said on Twitter. – Paolo Romero

COVID-19 OFW TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
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