Pack Your Bags: Filipinos allowed to go on non-essential travel starting Oct. 21

A boarding gate at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 <i>Photo: Philippine Airlines / FB</i>
A boarding gate at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 Photo: Philippine Airlines / FB

Happy days are here again for those with a perpetual case of wanderlust after the Duterte administration announced today that it is lifting its ban on non-essential travels from the Philippines starting Oct. 21.

But here’s the fine print: Filipinos must first present roundtrip tickets, health and travel insurance, and a negative antigen result that was taken 24 hours before departure before they are allowed to leave the country, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement. Pinoys should also provide a declaration stating that they are aware of the risks involved when traveling. They must also follow the guidelines set by the Philippines’ anti-coronavirus task force for returning overseas Filipinos.

Read: Filipinos traveling to Singapore must present negative swab tests before boarding

To control the spread of COVID-19, the government previously prohibited the arrival of most foreign nationals, allowing only workers of accredited international organizations and alien spouses and children of Filipinos to enter the country. This decision has resulted in a significant drop in foreign arrivals, with the Bureau of Immigration reporting that 189,000 passengers arrived from March 16 to June 30, much lower than the 5.16 million passengers in the same period in 2019.

The government first lifted its ban on non-essential travel in July, but it was suspended because only one insurance company agreed to cover the costs of hospitalization and accommodation of travelers if they get infected with the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Roque said in the same statement that the government is now allowing Filipinos aged 15 to 65 years old to go out of their homes. Before this, only those aged 21 to 60 were allowed to leave their residences.

“Local government units (LGUs) may impose a higher age limit for minors, depending on the COVID-19 situation in their respective jurisdictions,” the statement said.

 

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