Palace denies IATF agreed to ease outbound travel limits

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 12 2020 02:41 PM | Updated as of Oct 12 2020 02:54 PM

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MANILA - The Philippines' inter-agency task force on the pandemic has not agreed to ease outbound travel restrictions for Filipinos amid the prevailing health crisis, Malacañang said Monday, contrary to the recent statement of an official. 

"Wala pa pong agreement in principle. Hindi ko po alam kung saan nanggaling iyong impormasyon na there was an agreement in principle," Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque told reporters. 

(There is no agreement in principle yet. I don't know where the information that there was an agreement in principle came from.) 

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, vice chairman of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), said the body has agreed in principle to relax the outbound travel restrictions on Filipinos who want to be with their foreigner partners. 

“There are certain details that we have to thresh out. Everything has to be coordinated – from the testing to the airports, to the Bureau of Immigration, the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) and the airlines,” Nograles said, as quoted in media reports. 

Looser travel restriction "continues to be discussed in the TWG (technical working group)," said Roque.

"That is why I would like to stress any information about IATF must originate from my office. I'm sorry to say it... para po wala tayong problema (so we won't have a problem)," he added. Roque is also the spokesman of the IATF. 

"Ang outbound po is still limited to essential travel. Ang inbound, sarado pa rin po tayo sa turismo. It will be for a specific urgent purpose and it will have to be endorsed by a line agency," Roque said.

(Outbound is still limited to essential travel. As for inbound travel, we remain closed to tourists.) 

The Philippines has recorded 339,341 coronavirus infections, of which 39,945 are active cases, as of Sunday.