MANILA - International flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport will remain restricted even as Metro Manila relaxes lockdown measures beginning June 1, the Bureau of Immigration said Friday.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said travel restrictions enforced under the modified enhanced and enhanced community quarantine will remain "unless said restrictions are eased or lifted by the government."
NAIA, in effect, will still have "downscaled" operations and will run on skeletal and rotational deployment, Morente said.
Most international flights remain suspended due to travel restrictions set in and out of the country, he said. Airport operations have been limited since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
"Nonetheless, we assure the public that we are always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions," Morente said.
The bureau said foreigners with outgoing flights are allowed to leave but Filipinos may not, "except overseas Filipino workers, permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination."
Government had earlier lifted restrictions on OFW departures so long as they sign a declaration signifying knowledge of risks of going overseas even as the pandemic continues.
Meanwhile, the country has been repatriating overseas Filipinos who wanted to return home or lost employment abroad because of the pandemic.
The country's immigration bureau serves an average of 20 to 30 flights a day, BI's acting port operation chief Grifton Medina said. Most are flights that carry medical supplies "and other kinds of cargo into the country."
Passenger flights mostly carry repatriated overseas Filipino workers and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their home countries, he added.
Only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats are allowed entry into the Philippines, under existing coronavirus task force guidelines.
Travel in and out of the Philippines has been restricted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease.
Metro Manila will been placed under loosened lockdown protocols starting June 1, with more businesses allowed to open and select forms of transportation allowed within the region, considered the virus epicenter.
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