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Philippines allows entry of foreigners with long-term visas

The Philippines has allowed the entry of foreign nationals with long-term visas in the country beginning August 1, Malacañang announced on Friday.

The government’s COVID-19 task force, however, set conditions prior to the entry of these foreigners.

According to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, they must first have valid and existing visas at the time of the entry, meaning no new entry visa shall be accepted. 

He also said that foreign nationals are subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry, as returning overseas Filipinos will be given priority.

Foreign nationals must also secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider.

“Dadaan po sila sa proseso. Kinakailangan magpa-PCR test sila pagdating nila. At habang nag-aantay ng resulta sila po ay magi-stay sa quarantine,” Roque said in a phone interview.

“Ito naman po ay hindi mga ordinaryong mga dayuhan lamang. Ito’y mga dayuhan na kinokonsidera nila na ang kanilang tahanan ay nandito sa Pilipinas dahil sila ay mga permanent residents.”

The task force approved the new policy on Thursday.

Previously, only Filipinos, their spouse and children, accredited foreign government and international organization officials, as well as foreign airline crew, were allowed to enter the country.

The government earlier created a technical working group to study the possible entry of more foreigners amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study was prompted by the appeal of a foreign embassy for the Philippines to ease inbound travel restrictions to allow the entry of foreign workers in flagship infrastructure projects and permanent resident visa holders.

Last week, the Philippines lifted the ban on non-essential overseas travel by Filipinos although subject to conditions such as submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas and a declaration acknowledging the risks in traveling. --KBK, GMA News