International travel still restricted under GCQ, PH Immigration bureau says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020   •   252

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Friday that international travel restrictions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will still be implemented despite the easing of community quarantine protocols in Metro Manila.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that international travel restrictions imposed under the enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine are still in place unless these are lifted or eased by the national government.

“As a consequence, our operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and our personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment,” Morente said.

“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,” he added.

Meanwhile, Immigration acting port operations chief Grifton Medina said that BI officers at the NAIA currently serve an average of only 20 to 30 flights a day, a third of which are special flights that ferry medical supplies and other kinds of cargo into the country.

As for the passenger flights, Medina said these are mostly repatriation flights that transport returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their home countries.

Under existing guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Infectious Diseases (IATF), only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

All foreigners can leave anytime but Filipinos are not allowed to depart unless they are permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination.

Metro Manila will be placed under GCQ beginning June 1 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to ease quarantine restrictions.

Under GCQ, limited operations of public transportation will be allowed to resume and more businesses are allowed to reopen.

Religious gatherings up to 10% of venue capacity to be allowed in GCQ areas after July 10 – IATF

Robie de Guzman   •   July 3, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Friday announced that religious gatherings involving attendees of up to 10% of the venue capacity will soon be allowed in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said this is based on the latest resolution approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases following calls for the partial reopening of places of worship.

Roque said the new policy will take effect next Friday, July 10.

“Magkakaroon muna po tayo ng dry run na 10% itong darating na linggo, pero yung 10% po na allowed na ang lahat ay magsisimula po ng July 10,” he said in a televised press briefing.

The Palace official stressed that public health standards such as physical distancing, wearing of face mask, disinfection and hand hygiene, should be strictly followed.

President Rodrigo Duterte earlier announced that the following areas will be under GCQ from July 1 to July 15:

  • National Capital Region
  • Cavite
  • Benguet
  • Rizal
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Talisay City
  • Towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu Province
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte

Roque also announced that operation of travel agencies in GCQ areas will also be allowed but only limited to a skeleton workforce.

The Department of Trade and Industry will also release a set of guidelines on additional services that will be allowed in salons and barbershops.

The latest IATF resolution also states that practice and conditioning sessions for professional basketball and football teams will also be permitted.

Roque said the move comes after a joint administrative order was signed between the Philippine Sports Commission, Games and Amusements Board, and the Department of Health to allow limited physical activities amid the community quarantine. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

Duterte extends ECQ in Cebu City; GCQ in Metro Manila until July 15

Marje Pelayo   •   July 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to extend the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Cebu City until July 15, 2020.

The President noted the “stubbornness” of its residents despite strict government protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19. He cited the situation in Talisay City where people tend to ignore social distancing protocols, with some even engaging in drinking sprees and gambling.

Ayaw ninyo maniwala, bakit marami? One of the reasons — even without consulting the Body— because you did not follow rules,” President Duterte said.

“You have the highest. Cebu is now the new hotspot for COVID-19. Bakit? Marami sa inyo ay hindi sumusunod,” he added.

The President expressed concern over the situations in Cebu City which he hopes will improve through the supervision of Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu.

Meanwhile, Metro Manila and the following areas will remain under general community quarantine (GCQ) until July 15:

  • Cavite
  • Rizal
  • Benguet
  • Lapu-Lapu City
  • Mandaue City
  • Leyte
  • Ormoc
  • Southern Leyte
  • Talisay City, Minglanilla and Consolacion Municipalities in Cebu Province

The President commended the response of residents in the said areas to the government-imposed protocols which helped slow down the rate of COVID-19 infection.

You know Manila, maraming tao but because sumunod nila — with few violations thereabout— we here in Manila have a good chance of at least avoiding it,” he said.

To save the economy, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguz recommended to the President the further relaxing of quarantine measures in Metro Manila and the CALABARZON region. 

The rest of the country, meanwhile, will remain under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) specifically those identified as moderate and low risk areas where localized community quarantine and minimum health standards may strictly be observed. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

PH Immigration deports 10 more illegal aliens

Robie de Guzman   •   June 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) on Tuesday said it has deported 10 more illegal aliens detained at its warden facility in Taguig City.

In a statement, the BI said the 10 foreigners include eight Chinese nationals and two Mongolians.

They departed from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport via separate flights bound for China last June 19, 24 and 25.

“All of them have been placed on the immigration blacklist of undesirable aliens upon orders of our board of commissioners. Thus, they are now banned from re-entering the Philippines,” BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said.

It was learned that five of the Chinese deportees are wanted in their country for economic crimes due to their involvement in illegal online gaming operations and telecom fraud.

The three other Chinese nationals were deported for overstaying and committing fraud and misrepresentation, while the two Mongolians are alleged female sex workers caught in one of the raids of prostitution dens in Metro Manila last year.

According to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente, the deportation was carried out as part of the bureau’s efforts to decongest and prevent the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at its detention facility located in Camp Bagong Diwa.

“We will continue to send home these foreign inmates once they have been issued deportation orders and provided they have no pending criminal cases in court,” Morente said.

“We are doing this to safeguard the health not only of the foreign detainees but also that of our personnel assigned to our warden facility,” he added.

The BI earlier reported it had deported seven Chinese nationals who are facing charges for economic crimes and illegal black sand mining.

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