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Philippines ready for eventual reopening of borders to foreign tourists

Philstar.com
Philippines ready for eventual reopening of borders to foreign tourists
This undated image shows travelers walking in an airport.
Pixabay / Skitterphoto

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Immigration on Monday said they are ready should the national government lift its restrictions on foreign travelers amid the continuing decline in new COVID-19 cases in the country.

“Our frontline officers at the airports are ready and prepared, and we assure the traveling public of uninterrupted service should they decide to travel to the Philippines,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement.

The bureau issued this statement after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Philippines will reopen its borders to international tourists in “due time.”

“We are also looking at the experience of other countries that already opened to international tourism,” Roque said in Filipino in a Laging Handa briefing last week.

Morente noted that the bureau will need to increase its manpower when international travel resumes to normal, but BI already has laid down plans to address this.

BI acting port operations chief Carlos Capulong said they adopted a response mechanism calls to mobilize personnel assigned to other operating units in his division to perform primary inspection and supervisory duties during times of increase in travel volume.

Last week, the bureau reiterated its police prohibiting airport staff from applying vacation leaves from December 1 to Jan. 15, 2022, in anticipation of the influx of passengers.

Capulong also said they are waiting the appointments of 195 new Immigration officers from the Department of Justice, BI’s mother agency. This new batch of officers will be deployed to different ports across the country.

Morente meanwhile stressed: “Should the IATF and the Office of the President see that the country is ready, we will be happy to welcome again foreign tourists to our shores.”

The bureau recorded a 72% drop in arriving passengers in the first three quarters this year, compared with the same period in 2020. Records showed that only 893,886 international travelers arrived in the Philippines from January to September.

In the first nine months of 2020, BI data showed 3.2 million passengers came to the country, with 2.8 million of these arriving before the lockdown was imposed in March. — Kristine Joy Patag

BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 28, 2022 - 3:27pm

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

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