DOT welcomes IATF decision to allow balikbayans to return from abroad

Published November 27, 2020, 12:35 PM

by Hanah Tabios

The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow balikbayan’s entry to the Philippines.    


But their entry will still be subjected to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of their arrival.  
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that allowing entry of balikbayans or former Filipino citizens into the country during the holiday season is a great cause for celebration for millions of families who long for the homecoming of their relatives abroad.  
“This not only bodes well for our ailing industry but is good tidings for our kababayans who have been clamoring to be reunited with their loved ones from abroad, especially this yuletide season,” she said.
The IATF-EID Resolution No. 85, signed on Nov. 27, provides that starting Dec. 7, Filipino citizens’ foreign spouses and their children, as well as former Filipino citizens, including their spouses and children, who are travelling with them, will be allowed entry into the country regardless of age. 
They will be allowed visa-free entry under Executive Order No. 408, s. 1960. 
Travelers are required to arrange a pre-booked quarantine facility and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport prior to their travel. 
The IATF also directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to formulate the necessary guidelines to ensure smooth implementation while the DOT has been tasked to issue the necessary guidelines for the provision of sufficient accommodation taking into account the release of test results. 
“Balikbayans are considered as a viable source market of the country for tourism, particularly extending to the second and third generation dependents who have yet to discover their parents’ roots. That is why we deem important the Filipino communities abroad as staunch partners in driving visitors to the Philippines,” Puyat added.