THE government further eased travel restrictions and again allowed foreigners, except tourists, with long-term visas to enter the Philippines, Malacañang said on Friday.
Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) revised Resolution 98, by “delet[ing] the reckoning period of March 20, 2020,” in reference to the visas issued to foreigners allowed to enter the Philippines.
Under the IATF’s resolution, Roque said foreigners allowed to the Philippines are “those with valid and existing visas at the time of entry and who were not permitted to enter the country under previous IATF resolutions, and holders of valid and existing special resident and retiree’s visas and Section 9A visas provided they present an entry exemption document to the Bureau of Immigration upon arrival.”
“Lahat po ng long-term visas na na-issue natin pupuwede na pong pumasok. Antayin na lang po natin kailan papayagan ang mga turista (All foreigners with long-term visas that we have issued can now enter. Let’s just wait for now when tourists will be allowed),” Roque said during an interview with state-run PTV-4 on Friday.
“Sa ngayon po, ang pinapayagan lang e lahat ng mga visas ng mga namumuhunan, mga nagtratrabaho, mga kamag-anak ng Pilipino, mga may asawa na Pilipino, mga anak. Halos lahat ng dayuhan, except ang mga turista (Right now, we’re only allowing investors, workers, foreigners with Filipino spouses and their children. Almost all foreigners, except tourists),” he added.
Arriving foreigners are subject to IATF requirements, which include having a pre-booked accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility.
Foreign travelers must also undergo a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test six days after their arrival.
The government barred most foreigners from entering the country beginning March 22 last year, when Luzon island and other parts of the country went into lockdown.
Among those still allowed to enter the country at the time were foreign spouses and their children accompanied by a Filipino national, as well as officials of foreign governments or international organizations.
The government first imposed a travel ban on Hubei province, China, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, on Jan. 31, 2020 and expanded the ban to the rest of China, Hong Kong and Macau on Feb. 22, 2020.