THE Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Wednesday, November 4, urged airlines not to allow foreign nationals bound for the Philippines without the appropriate visas.
According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the bureau received reports of foreigners who were turned back at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for not having visas. The incident also occurred in the international airports in Mactan, Cebu and Clark, Pampanga.
Morente stressed that airlines are responsible for ensuring that the foreign nationals travelling to the Philippines have proper visas as the companies would bear the inconvenience if they would have to be sent back.
“Apart from shouldering the cost of returning these aliens to their port or origin, it is also the responsibility of the airlines to defray the expenses of their accommodation at the airport while awaiting their return flights,” he added.
Morente also urged airlines to keep themselves updated on the latest policies on international travel from the Inter-Agency Task Force.
Atty. Candy Tan, BI Port Operations Division chief, said they have constantly reminded airlines not to allow improperly documented foreigners.
“We understand that sudden change in policy happens worldwide because of the pandemic. Borders keep on opening and closing, depending on the number of COVID-19 cases,” she said.
“Hence we are in close coordination with airlines to update them on the policies as directed by the IATF. We are thankful for their cooperation, it’s a difficult time for everyone, especially for the airline industry, and through their support we are able to implement these measures to avoid the surge of cases in the country,” she added.
Tan also noted that most of the foreign nationals who were turned away are those who have Filipino spouses and children but do not possess any visa.
“What they have in their possession are usually their marriage certificates and the birth certificates of their children,” she explained.
Filipinos, their spouse and minor children, foreign children with special needs of Filipinos, foreign parent of minor Filipinos, and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs are allowed to enter the Philippines.
Foreigners with visas issued by the Bureau of Immigration pursuant to Executive Order No. 226, or the Omnibus Investments Code, as amended, and Republic Act. No. 8756; those with 47(a)(2) visas issued by the Department of Justice; and those visas issued by the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Authority and the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority are allowed to enter the country as well.
Foreigners entering the country are required to have a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility before entering the country.
They must also be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, and must follow applicable immigration laws, rules and regulations.