MANILA (UPDATE)— The Philippines is reopening its borders by April to all foreign travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Malacañang said on Friday.
"Fully vaccinated foreign nationals shall be allowed entry into the Philippines beginning April 1, 2022, at 12:01 a.m.," said acting Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Kristian Ablan.
"Foreign nationals may enter the Philippines without need of an entry exemption document... provided that they comply with the applicable visa requirements and immigration entry and departure formalities," he said in a press briefing.
Asked to confirm if this meant that the Philippines would accept all fully vaccinated foreigners by next month, Ablan said in a text message, "That is correct."
Previously, the country had a list of territories whose COVID-19 certificates were recognized for entry protocols. The list was updated weekly.
Under revised rules, fully vaccinated may enter the country "as long as they are able to present to us acceptable proof of vaccination," Ablan said.
"There is no more listing of which country the foreign national originates from," he added.
Accepted proof of vaccination includes those from the WHO and the Philippines. The country also recognizes digital vaccination certificates from countries "which have accepted VaxCertPH under a reciprocal arrangement", or other proof of vaccination permitted by the COVID-19 task force.
Abalan said vaccinated travelers are not required to go on facility-based quarantine. But they should self-monitor for a week and report any COVID-19 symptom to the local government, said the official.
Children below 12 years old will be allowed to enter the country only if they are traveling with fully-vaccinated foreign parents, he noted.
Ablan said foreigners should present a negative RT-PCR test taken within 48 hours or a laboratory-based antigen test taken within 24 hours prior to departure.
Their passports should be valid for at least 6 months when they arrive in the Philippines, said Ablan.
He said foreigners must also have travel insurance for COVID-19 treatment with a minimum coverage of $35,000.
The Philippines in February reopened to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from around 150 countries with visa-free arrangements.
The Department of Tourism said the Philippines eyed reopening to all foreigners by April, as fresh COVID-19 cases continued to decline.
"It’s timely because Asia is the last [region] to reopen to tourism and it starts with the Philippines," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
Video from PTV