Non-essential outbound travel allowed starting Oct. 21

Published October 16, 2020, 1:00 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Filipinos may soon resume fulfilling their travel goals after the government lifted the restrictions of non-essential outbound travel beginning Oct. 21, Malacañang announced.

Airline ground staff (L) wearing protective gear work at the counter at the airport in Manila on August 4, 2020. (Photo by Ted ALJIBE / AFP / MANILA BULLETIN)

In an announcement over State-run PTV-4, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed the non-essential outbound travel during their 79th meeting Thursday.

According to Roque, Filipinos may be allowed to leave the country after submitting confirmed roundtrip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance for those traveling on tourist visas.

They are likewise required to execute an immigration declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling and a negative antigen result taken within 24 hours before departure, subject to the Department of Health (DoH) guidelines.

Outbound Filipino travelers shall likewise follow the Guidelines of the National Task Force (NTF) for returning overseas Filipinos.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles had earlier said that the IATF has already “approved in principle” the easing of the restrictions of non-essential outbound travel.

Nograles, IATF co-chair, said that the collegial body was just ironing out some details before making an official announcement to the public.

However, last Monday, Roque denied that there was an “agreement in principle” to ease down outbound travel restrictions, saying all information about the IATF should come from his office.

“Alam ko po masamang balita ito sa mga nagmamahalan pero mas mabuti na pong alam niyo ang katotohanan nang hindi kayo umasa (I know this is bad news especially for lovers but it’s better that you know the truth so you won’t get your hopes up),” he said.

Supporters of the Love is Not Tourism movement has been urging governments all over the world to allow the travel of foreign partners.

The government has suspended outbound travel when the Philippines was placed on lockdown in March.

The IATF has initially allowed the non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos in its Resolution No. 52 released in July but this has been temporarily suspended after only one insurance company agreed to adhere to the conditions to cover rebooking, accommodation expenses, and hospitalization should a traveler contract COVID-19.

However, those with confirmed bookings as of July 20, 2020 were allowed to proceed with their non-essential outbound travel.