By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Stranded foreign nationals will now be allowed to leave the country as the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases announced new guidelines for the government’s fight against COVID-19.
In a virtual press briefing in Malacañang, Cabinet Secretary and IATF spokesperson Karlo Nograles announced that stranded foreign nationals, like overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions, will be allowed to leave the Philippines without any impediment.
He said, however, that the amendment to IATF’s Resolution No. 13 does not necessarily allow travelers to go to countries where travel restrictions are in place.
Nograles reiterated that departing passengers may only be accompanied by only one person when traveling to any international port.
He added that the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) has been directed to provide transportation services to OFWs intending to leave for abroad.
In its Resolution No. 15, the IATF said outbound and repatriated OFWs and stranded foreign nationals are granted free and unimpeded access to and from national government facilities such as airports, ferries, and bus terminals, among others.
“The said free access shall extend to the vehicles carrying the aforementioned individuals in order for them to reach their final destination,” it read.
“No fee or any other requirement shall be imposed by LGUs (local government units) in this regard,” it furthered.
Meanwhile, stranded passengers are now allowed to book hotels and seek temporary accommodations.
For hotels and other forms of accommodations, Nograles said only single occupancy rooms shall be used by health workers and repatriated OFWs.
Double occupancy rooms, on the other hand, shall be allowed for other individuals subject to the guidelines of the Department of Health (DOH).