Vice President Leni Robredo can’t wrap her head around the decision of the Philippine government to lift the travel restrictions earlier imposed on 10 countries despite the rising number of daily coronavirus cases locally.
Speaking on her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni,” Robredo said she hoped the lifting of the travel ban was based on data.
Malacañang has announced the travel restrictions on travelers coming from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia will be lifted on Monday, September 6.
These countries were placed on the travel ban list for months due to the prevalence of the highly transmissible and contagious Delta variant of COVID-19.
Travelers must still comply with the entry and health protocols depending on the COVID-19 risk classification of their countries of origin upon arrival in the Philippines.
”Hindi ko alam kung bakit tayo magtatanggal ng restriction ngayon ang taas-taas ng kaso natin (I don’t know why the restriction would be removed now the cases are high),” Robredo said.
The vice president noted while the government lifts the travel ban, some countries like Hong Kong keep stricter border protocols to prevent the further spread of the virus.
She was referring to flag carrier Philippines Airlines (PAL) which has been banned from operating passenger flights going to Hong Kong for two weeks after some confirmed COVID-19 cases there were found to have come from Manila.
“So ang tanong ko lang, hindi ko alam baka ginagawa din natin ‘yun pero ganun din ba tayo ka-istrikto? (So my question is, I don’t know if we are also doing that, but are we also strict like them?),” she asked.
Robredo recounted when the government didn’t immediately impose a ban on all flights from China, especially from Wuhan City, the pandemic’s global epicenter.
“Kasi kung pinipilit lang natin magbukas na iyong ekonomiya, bukas-sara tayo niyan. Okay iyong pagbubukas ng ekonomiya kung may kasabay itong pagprotect, ‘di ba? Pagprotect sa bawat isa sa atin (If we are just forcing to open the economy, we will just open and close the economy. The opening of economy is okay if it’s accompanied by the protection of everyone),” she said.