Palace says all Filipinos allowed to enter PH even as COVID-19 cases climb

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 19 2021 01:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 19 2021 01:24 PM

Palace says all Filipinos allowed to enter PH even as COVID-19 cases climb 1
Travelers wearing personal protective equipment as a precaution against COVID-19 arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Parañaque City on March 17, 2021. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — All Filipinos are allowed to return to the Philippines, Malacañang said on Friday, reversing an earlier pronouncement that only overseas Filipino workers may fly back home amid a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases. 

"Lahat ng Filipino citizens, whether returning overseas Filipinos o overseas Filipino workers, ay pinapayagang makabalik ng Pilipinas," said Palace spokesman Harry Roque. 

(All Filipino citizens, whether returning overseas Filipinos or overseas Filipino workers, are allowed to return to the Philippines.)

National Task Force on COVID-19 spokesman Restituto Padilla, meanwhile, urged overseas Filipinos to put off their plans to fly home to support containment efforts. 

“Maganda po check niyo website ng Bureau of Immigration pero kung pwede pa kayong manatili kasama ang inyong anak at hindi naman kayo nagmamadaling umuwi, ang ating abiso ay ipagpaliban n’yo na lang po 'yung pagbiyahe para makatulong sa ginagawa nating hakbang para mapigilan 'yung pagpasok ng new variants,” sabi ni Padilla," he said in a TeleRadyo interview. 

(It's good if you can check the Bureau of Immigration website but if you and your children are not in a hurry to come home, our advice is to postpone your plans so you can help in our efforts to prevent the entry of new variants.)

The coronavirus task force said earlier this week that foreign citizens and returning nationals who have not been working overseas will not be able to enter the country from March 20 until April 19. 

Roque said foreigners would still be barred from entering the country effective March 22, 12:01 a.m. until April 21, 11:59 p.m. 

Exceptions to the rule include diplomats, members of international organizations and their dependents, foreigners involved in medical repatriation, foreign seafarers under green lane programs for crew change, foreign spouses and children of Filipinos traveling with them, and emergency or humanitarian cases, said Roque. 

The Civil Aeronautics Board on Tuesday capped passenger arrivals at Manila's international airport to a maximum of 1,500 per day from March 18 to April 19 to help contain the spread of COVID-19, which has infected 640,984 people in the Philippines. 

— With a report from Reuters 

Video courtesy of PTV