Filipinos in countries covered by travel ban can return to PH

Published June 20, 2021, 2:26 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang clarified that Filipinos covered by repatriation efforts in countries included in the travel ban imposed due to the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) were allowed to return to the Philippines subject to quarantine and testing protocols.

OWWA personnel inspect travel documents of passengers arriving at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1 on May 6, 2021 (Ali Vicoy/Manila Bulletin)

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after the Philippines extended the restrictions imposed on passengers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, and Oman until June 30, 2021.

In his statement, Roque clarified that the ban does not cover Filipino travelers, especially those covered by repatriation programs.

“Let it be clear, however, that Filipinos covered by the repatriation programs of the government and repatriation activities of manning / recruitment agencies cleared by the Bureau of Quarantine are not prohibited from entering the Philippines,” he said.

“They can enter the country, subject to testing and quarantine protocols. We hope this clarifies the matter,” he added.

The Philippines imposed to travel ban on travelers from the said countries to ensure continuous strict border control to prevent the Delta variant from reaching local communities and having community transmission.

“The abovementioned variant, first detected in India, is more transmissible as seen in the experience of other countries, thus there is a need for continued vigilance,” Roque noted.

This was the second time the government extended the travel restrictions on these seven countries due to the Delta variant.

The government first imposed travel restrictions on India from April 29 to May 14. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka were later added to the list from May 7 to May 14. The restrictions were later extended until the end of the month.

Meanwhile, the government halted the entry of travelers coming from Oman and the United Arab Emirates from May 15 to May 31. An exception has been given if passengers are part of the government’s repatriation efforts.

These travel restrictions were extended from June 1 to 15, 2021.