The Philippines on Thursday expressed sadness over Malaysia’s decision to block Filipinos with long-term passes from entering its territory beginning September 7 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said Malaysia’s move was an exercise of national sovereignty.
“That’s a sovereign decision [on] who will be allowed to enter one’s territory,” Roque said in a televised briefing.
“I’m not saying we’re happy. We regret the decision but we respect the sovereign decision of Malaysia.”
Aside from Filipinos, Malaysia will also bar the entry of long-term pass holders from India and Indonesia.
The Philippines currently has the highest number of COVID-19 cases (226,440) in Southeast Asia, while Indonesia leads the region in the number of deaths (7,616), according to the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.
India is the world's third-worst affected country with 3.85 million cases, including 67,376 deaths, as of Thursday. —LBG, GMA News