The government commission that managed the state’s response to COVID-19 allowed foreign spouses and children – regardless of age – of Filipino nationals traveling with them to enter the country in early December 7th.
“Balikbayan” or the Philippines returning with headquarters abroad could also enjoy the same privilege under the new guidelines approved by the Interdepartmental Working Group for the Management of New Infectious Diseases on Thursday.
They are allowed to enter without visas, but must have a pre-booked quarantine facility and a pre-booked test for COVID-19 in a laboratory operating at the airport, said spokesman for President Harry Roque.
Depending on the maximum capacity
It will also be subject to the maximum capacity of incoming passengers at the port and the date of entry, Roque said.
The Immigration Office has been tasked with developing guidelines for implementing this policy.
The Department of Tourism has been instructed to issue guidelines to provide sufficient accommodation for these individuals while awaiting the results of their tests on COVID-19.
The government limited the number of foreign arrivals in the country when the pandemic hit, but the restrictions have been eased little by little.
Last month, foreigners with an investor visa were allowed to cross borders.
On the other hand, Filipinos are allowed to leave the country for tourist purposes.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Friday praised the government’s decision to allow balikbayans to enter the Philippines starting Dec. 7, saying it would help local tourism recover from the debilitating effects of the pandemic.
“Balikbayans are considered a sustainable native market in the country for tourism, especially extending to second and third generations of dependents who have yet to discover their parents’ roots, ”Puyat said in a statement.
“That’s why we consider the Filipino communities abroad as important partners in attracting visitors to the Philippines,” she said.
The tourism secretary said the opening of the country for the return of Filipinos and their families during the Christmas season is “a great occasion to celebrate the millions of families longing for the return of relatives abroad”.
“It not only hints at our sick industry, but it is also good news for ours [countrymen] who have advocated for reunification with their loved ones from abroad, especially this yuletide season, ”Puyat said.
The coronavirus infection has brought the local tourism industry to its knees as thousands of tourism businesses and businesses have shut down due to blockades and travel restrictions imposed by the government to stop the spread of the virus.
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