All Filipino citizens are allowed to return to the Philippines, but foreign nationals are still temporarily barred starting March 22.
This update comes after the National Task Force Against COVID-19 (NTF COVID-19) issued a Memorandum Circular on Friday, March 19 to further clarify the temporary suspension of travel into the Philippines.
Filipino citizens, whether a returning Overseas Filipino (OF) or Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW), are permitted to enter the country.
However, foreign nationals are temporarily barred from entering the Philippines starting on Monday, March 22, until April 21.
Exempted from the travel restrictions are the following:
- diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents, provided they hold valid 9(e) visas
- medical repatriation and their escort/s duly endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) or the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA)
- foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them
- distressed returning overseas Filipinos duly endorsed by the DFA and the OWWA
- emergency, humanitarian and other analogous cases approved by the NTF COVID-19
Earlier, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) also implemented a cap on inbound arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Incoming international flights would be allowed to carry only 1,500 passengers per day from March 18 to April 18.
The NTF COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 16, released a memorandum announcing that foreign nationals and Filipinos who are not overseas workers will be temporarily barred from entering the Philippines starting on Saturday, March 20, and end on April 19.
For its part, flag carrier Philippine Airlines announced that it would be cancelling several flights to and from Manila following CAB’s directive.
“To comply with the restriction, airlines will need to cancel a number of international flights to and from Manila during the stated March 18 to April 19 period. Philippine Airlines will operate our full international schedule for March 18 but we will be announcing in due course any flight cancellations on other days for the rest of the period,” the airline said in a post on Facebook.
“Airlines will likewise comply with any directives from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) and concerned authorities on the type of travelers that will be allowed entry into the Philippines within the same March 18 (8 AM) to April 19 (8 AM) period. Please note that certain passenger types will thus need to postpone their Manila-bound travels until after the stated period,” it added.
To date, there are a total of 635,698 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country, with 12,866 fatalities and 561,099 recoveries.