PH to allow entry of more foreigners starting May 1 — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   April 30, 2021   •   869

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines, on May 1,  will lift its ban on the entry of some foreign nationals except for those coming from India or those with travel history to the said country, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) has allowed the entry of foreign nationals permitted under previous IATF resolutions but will be subject to the following conditions:

  • They must have a valid and existing visa at the time of entry, except for those qualified under Balikbayan Program
  • They must have pre-booked accommodation for at least seven nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility
  • They must subject to COVID-19 testing at the quarantine hotel/facility on the sixth (6th) day from the date of arrival
  • They are subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and the date of entry

“Simula a-uno po ng Mayo, puwede pong makapasok at pinapayagang pumasok base sa mga nakaraang IATF resolution ang ilang mga dayuhan… Pero karamihan po ito ay iyong mga nangangalakal, iyong mga investors, visa holders at long-term visa holders,” Roque said during a Laging Handa briefing.

The entry ban on most foreigners was imposed on March 22 until April 30 due to rising COVID-19 cases in the Philippines.

Under previous IATF resolutions, the following foreign nationals allowed entry to the Philippines:

  • Diplomats
  • Members of international organization and their dependents holding valid 9(e) visa of 47(a)(2), as the case may be, at the time of entry
  • Foreigners involved in medical repatriation endorsed by the DFA Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs and Overseas Workers Welfare Administration provided that they have a valid visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign seafarers under the “green lanes” program for a crew change, provided that they hold a 9(c) crew list visa at the time of entry
  • Foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens traveling with them, provided that they have valid visas at the time of entry
  • Emergency, humanitarian, and other analogous cases approved by the NTF vs COVID-19 chairperson or his duly authorized representative, provided that they have valid visas at the time of entry

“Travel restrictions, however, shall continue to be in effect for those coming from India or those with travel history to India, as imposed by IATF Resolution No. 112,” Roque said in a separate statement.

The Philippines has barred the entry of travelers from India from April 29 to May 14 due to the surge of COVID-19 infections attributed to a “double-mutant” coronavirus variant.

“All these are without prejudice to immigration rules and regulations. The Commissioner of Immigration shall have the exclusive prerogative to decide on the waiver or recall of exclusion orders of foreign nationals, subject to regular reporting to the IATF Secretariat,” Roque said.

The Bureau of Immigration has also been directed to formulate the necessary guidelines to ensure its smooth implementation, the Palace said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

PH logs 6,043 new COVID-19 cases; death toll breaches 24K

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ cumulative tally of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases  climbed to 1,378,260 on Thursday after the Department of Health (DOH) reported 6,043 additional infections.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the number of active cases in the country has reached 51,410.

Of this figure, 90.6 percent are mild, 4.5 percent are asymptomatic, 1.44 percent are moderate, 2 percent are severe, and 1.4 percent are in critical condition.

The DOH said only one testing laboratory failed to submit data on time.

The DOH also reported 4,486 more recovered patients, pushing the total recoveries to 1,302,814.

The death toll rose to 24,036 with 108 new fatalities.

The DOH also noted the positivity rate of 12.0 percent out of 46,497 tests reported last June 22.

Philippines to reach 10 million COVID-19 vaccine jabs next week — Dizon

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government is expecting to breach by next week the 10-million mark in its COVID-19 vaccination program, testing czar Vince Dizon said Thursday.

In a press briefing with Israeli medical experts, Dizon said the government is close to reaching the targeted 500,000 daily vaccination rate based on the reported doses administered nationwide.

He said that on Wednesday, the Philippines administered over 353,000 doses, the biggest recorded so far.

“The days where we are hitting less than 100,000 are behind us and I think that with the additional vaccine doses that are coming in… the number that we reached yesterday will only get higher in the coming weeks,” he said.

“Our target is 500,000 a day, national. We’re almost there,” he added.

Based on the vaccine statistics presented by Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje in the same briefing, the country has already administered over 9.2 million doses as of June 23.

She said 1.6 million individuals under the A1 or first priority group have been vaccinated – one million of them have completed two doses.

Cabotaje also said that 2 million of the 8 million targeted senior citizens and another 2 million of the 7 million persons with co-morbidities have been inoculated.

Among A4 or essential workers in the NCR Plus 8 areas, 642,709 have received their first dose while 8,623 have been fully vaccinated.

For indigents or A5, 110,934 have been given their first dose against COVID-19.

The national government earlier said it is eyeing to vaccinate up to 70 million people this year to achieve population protection against coronavirus disease.

Senate mourns death of ex-Pres. Noynoy Aquino

Robie de Guzman   •   June 24, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Senators on Thursday expressed their condolences on the passing of former President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III.

Aquino passed away this morning for still undisclosed reasons. He was 61.

“No matter what political side you’re on, when a former president passes away, the country mourns,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said in a message to reporters.

“His death diminishes us all. Sincerest condolences from the Senate and my family,” he added.

Senator Grace Poe also paid tribute to the late former president.

“Sa nagbukas ng pinto ng serbisyo publiko para sa atin, maraming salamat sa iyong legasiya ng pagsisilbi nang buong katapatan at dedikasyon. Ipinakita sa atin ni PNoy ang kahalagahan ng mabuting kalooban sa isang pinuno: walang pag-iimbot sa kapwa, malinis ang intensyon, at walang pagkagahaman sa kapangyarihan,” Poe said in a statement.

“Pinapahalagahan namin ang iyong matapat na paglilingkod, PNoy,” she added.

Senator Sonny Angara likewise honored Noynoy’s legacy as he expressed his sympathies to the Aquino family.

“Rest well knowing that in time your own legacy will be remembered as it should be, from a perspective that is objective. You have earned your place in the annals of Philippine history. May the Lord bring comfort to PNoy’s siblings and rest of the Aquino clan,” he said.

Senator Manny Pacquiao also remembered Aquino’s programs during his term as president.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Former President Benigno Aquino III. His love for the country was manifested in his term of service where he championed the ‘Daang Matuwid’ and the ‘Kayo ang Boss Ko,’” he said.

“We are sending our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies to the beloved family of the former president. His legacy will be remembered,” he added.

Senator Joel Villanueva, who served as director general of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) during the Aquino administration, expressed sadness over the passing of his friend.

“The nation lost a leader, and I, a friend. But he was more than that. He was a mentor, a brother to me,” Villanueva said in a statement.

“If I was Tesdaman, he was the TESDA Godfather. He believed in the great talents of our youth, waiting to be unlocked if given good training, right breaks, and inspiring success stories. By ordering that they be trained, he invested in their dreams,” he said.

Villanueva remembered Aquino as “a simple man, plain Citizen Noy,” after his stint in Malacañang, and “a compassionate tito, never missing the perks and the powers he once wielded.”

“When the passion of the present had died down, a fair assessment of his administration will bear the truth of great achievements, brave decisions and moral leadership,” he said.

“We now commit him to the embrace of our Lord, and his life and works to history’s kind judgement,” he added.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who served as Aquino’s rehabilitation czar in areas hit by Typhoon Yolanda, said Noynoy served his country “very well with humility, honor, and integrity.”

“It was indeed a privilege to have served with him – both in the Senate and the Executive Department, but more than that, to be his friend,” Lacson said.

“As our country’s leader, he did not deserve to be unappreciated. He served his country very well with humility, honor and integrity,” he added.  “Even as President, he always managed to promptly respond to my messages, no matter how casual and trivial.”

Prior to winning the presidency, Aquino served in the Senate from 2007 to 2010.

He chaired the Senate Committee on Local Government in the 14th Congress and was also vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

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