International travel still restricted under GCQ, PH Immigration bureau says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020   •   727

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.

NCR remains under GCQ with heightened restrictions until August 15

Marje Pelayo   •   July 29, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has approved the extension of general community quarantine (GCQ) with heightened restrictions in the National Capital Region (NCR) until August 15, 2021.

The approval was based on the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) given the current COVID-19 situation in the country.

“Ginusto man niyo o hindi kailangan  itong ganitong patakaran for you to survive; para mabuhay kayo. As shown with what is happening in other countries, there is really a pandemic in the true sense of the word in Indonesia, India and Thailand,” the President said during the televised meeting on Wednesday (July 28).

The following quarantine classifications take effect in the following areas:

Enhanced Community Quarantine (August 1 – August 7)
Iloilo City
Cagayan de Oro
Gingoog City

Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (August 1 – August 15)
Ilocos Norte
Bataan
Lapu-Lapu City
Mandaue City

General Community Quarantine  with heightened restrictions (August 1- August 15)
National Capital Region
Ilocos Sur
Cagayan
Bulacan
Laguna
Lucena city
Cavite
Rizal
Naga City
Antique
Aklan
Bacolod City
Capiz
Negros oriental
Zamboanga del sur
Misamis Oriental
Davao City
Davao del Norte
Davao de Oro
Davao Occidental
Butuan City

General Community Quarantine  (August 1 – August 31)
Baguio City
Apayao
City of Santiago, Isabela
Nueva Vizcaya
Quirino
Quezon
Batangas
Puerto princesa
Guimaras
Negors occidental
Zamboanga Del Norte
Zamboanga Sibugay
City of Zamboanga
Davao Oriental
Davao Del Sur
General Santos City
Sultan Kudarat
Sarangani
North cotabato
South cotabato
Caraga
Agusan del norte
Surigao del norte
Agusan del sur
Dinagat islands
Surigao del sur
BARMM
Cotabato

Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ)
The rest of the country

DOTr inaugurates PH’s longest bike lane network in Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has inaugurated the Philippines’ longest bike lane network in Metro Manila on Tuesday (July 27).

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor said the bike lane can accommodate 1,250 cyclists per hour for every meter of road space.

The Metro Manila Bike Lane Network has an overall length of 313 kilometers and cuts through 12 cities: Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Las Piñas, Parañaque, and Taguig.

“With the completion of bike lanes, cyclists are provided with safe spaces on the road as they pedal to work and to other places,” according to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade in his message delivered by Pastor.

May lugar na para sa ating mga siklista dito sa ating pangunahing kalsada. Malaking hakbang po ito nang sa ganoon ay mabago natin ang nakagawiang sistema at maitanim natin ang kultura, disiplina at kaayusan sa ating kalsada (There are now areas for our cycliss on major roads. This is a huge step for us so that we can change the old system and instill culture, discipline, and order on our roads),” Pastor said.

Meanwhile, the transport official also shared that other parts of Metro Manila will also have their own bike lanes soon.

Pastor said there will be a South National Capital Region (NCR) which was procured by the Department of Public Works and Highways together with DOTr, which will be  Las Piñas, Muntinlupa at Parañaque. AAC

Foreign kin of Filipinos need not present entry exemption docs starting August 1

Marje Pelayo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Starting August 1, foreign spouses, children and parents of Filipino citizens who are traveling to the Philippines as tourists to visit their kin will no longer be required to present an entry exemption document (EED).

This new policy is in compliance with the latest resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) which eased the entry travel requirements for foreigners related by marriage or filiation to Filipinos.

Under the new IATF resolution, foreign spouses, children and parents of Filipinos will only be required to present 9(a) tourist visas beginning on Saturday.

However, the IATF instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to include in the visa of said aliens the notation: “EED not required per IATF Resolution No. 128 (s.2021).”

According to BI Commissioner Jaime Morente, foreigners whose Filipino spouses and children are currently in the Philippines will be able to easily visit and reunite with their loved ones.

Previously, these aliens were allowed entry into the Philippines only if they have valid 9(a) tourist visas as well as an EED issued by the DFA through its various embassies or consulates abroad.

Those who fail to secure and present either one of the two documents are excluded and turned back upon arrival at the ports of entry.

The BI chief stressed that the new travel guidelines apply only to foreigners who are not accompanied by their Filipino spouses or Filipino parents when going to the Philippines.

“Foreigners who are traveling with their Filipino spouses or parents are eligible for the Balikbayan program and they may be admitted visa-free for a one-year stay,” Morente said.

He explained that those who are not traveling with their Filipino principal must apply for a 9(A) tourist visa from a Philippine consulate abroad, which they would use for entry to the Philippines.

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