Philippines to allow entry of more foreigners with valid visas starting Feb. 16 — Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 5, 2021   •   1249

MANILA, Philippines – The list of foreign nationals allowed entry to the Philippines has been expanded, Malacañang announced on Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) on Thursday decided to ease restrictions on foreigners with visas issued as of March 20, 2020 and are still valid and existing at the time of entry.

Also allowed to enter the Philippines are holders of valid and existing Special Resident and Retirees Visa (SRRV) and Section 9 (A) visas as long as they present an entry exemption document to the Bureau of Immigration upon arrival.

Arriving foreign nationals should have pre-booked accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel/facility and be subject to COVID-19 testing at the quarantine hotel/facility on the sixth day from date of arrival.

Roque also said that entry of foreign nationals will subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.

The updated policy shall take effect on February 16, he added.

“This expanded list, however, is without prejudice to existing immigration laws, rules and regulations,” the Palace official said.

“The Commissioner of Immigration has the exclusive prerogative to decide on waiver or recall of exclusion orders for all foreign nationals allowed to enter the country under relevant IATF resolutions,” he added.

Palace asks all sectors to unite, help gov’t end COVID-19 pandemic

Robie de Guzman   •   April 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has urged all sectors in the country to unite and help in government efforts to combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the appeal as he cited measures implemented by the government to slow down the virus transmission and shrugged off criticism over the Duterte administration’s handling of the public health crisis.

In a statement, Roque said the government has intensified testing, tracing, isolation, treatment, and vaccination efforts to address the COVID-19 spike.

Citing global data, the Palace official said that the Philippines ranks third after India and China in terms of tests per million population, while in terms of total tests conducted, the Philippines is second after Indonesia among ASEAN countries, with more than 10, 421,636 tests conducted, as of April 5, 2021.

“We have a weekly average of 52,565 tests from April 4-10, and reaching a high of 63,839 tests conducted last April 8, 2021,” Roque added.

On tracing, Roque said the government has strengthened and improved the use of Staysafe.ph system by using automatic contact tracing through Smart Messaging System and the supplementation of around 27,672 contact tracers in the NCR Plus.

The NCR Plus refers to the National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna. The area was previously placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) from March 29 to April 11 due to a surge in coronavirus infections and later reverted to modified ECQ until April 30.

Malacañang also said that the government built more facilities to augment the need for quarantine centers.

“On isolation, the Department of Public Works and Highways continue to build facilities and mobile hospitals to augment the need for quarantine facilities, including the activation of more than 1,700 beds, including the recently opened 110-bed capacity modular hospital in Quezon Institute and 300-bed capacity Temporary Treatment and Monitoring Facility in The Manila Times College of Subic, Inc.,” he said.

Efforts are also being made to accommodate and better serve patients with COVID-19, Roque said.

“On treatment, we have set up a One Hospital Command to better serve patients in need of hospitalization. Medical facilities have likewise given to increase its dedicated beds COVID-19 after the President directed the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation to settle its obligation with hospitals while mainstreaming telemedicine in local government units,” he said.

“A total of 136 healthcare workers from the Visayas and Mindanao have been deployed to different facilities in Metro Manila,” he added.

Roque also pointed out that the Philippines is the third highest in vaccine rollout in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), with 1.2 million doses administered.

“On vaccination, we have reached the one million mark in terms of total COVID-19 vaccines administered,” he said.

Roque reminded critics that the spike in COVID-19 cases is not only happening in the Philippines but in other countries as well.

“Critics and the detractors of the Administration have always something to say. It is worth mentioning that the increase in the number of cases is seen not only in the Philippines, but it is reflected worldwide as per World Health Organization Country Representative Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe,” he said.

He, however, acknowledged that much more can be done to ramp up efforts to respond to the prevailing public health crisis.

“We call on all sectors to unite and help the government in putting an end to this dreadful pandemic,” he said.

IATF bars NCR Plus, cities of Cebu, Davao from entering Region 6

Robie de Guzman   •   April 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has temporarily suspended inbound passenger travel to Western Visayas (Region 6) for people coming from the areas of NCR Plus, Cebu City, and Davao City, Malacañang said on Monday.

In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the suspension of inbound passenger travel will last until April 10.

Roque said IATF’s decision is in response to the request of local officials in Region 6 amid the surge in cases in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Western Visayas is composed of the provinces of Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras, Iloilo, and Negros Occidental. World-famous Boracay Island is also located in Western Visayas.

Local government units in Region 6 last week separately issued executive orders closing off provincial borders, as well as for the imposition of curfew and liquor ban in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The National Capital Region, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna – collectively called as NCR Plus – were initially placed under enhanced community quarantine (EQC) from March 29 to April 4 to restrict the public’s mobility and curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

It was later extended to April 11 by the national government.

Davao City has been placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) while Cebu City is under modified GCQ for the month of April.

The Philippines has so far recorded 795,051 infections with 646,100 recoveries and 13,425 deaths.

PH logs 9,296 new COVID-19 infections; active cases now at 124,680

Robie de Guzman   •   March 30, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines’ total tally of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases climbed to 741,181 on Tuesday after recording 9,296 new infections, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

In its latest bulletin, the DOH said the latest figure brought the country’s number of active cases to 124,680.

The tally does not include data from nine laboratories that failed to submit on time.

Ngayong 4 PM, Marso 30, 2021, ang Department of Health ay nakapagtala ng 9,296 na karagdagang kaso ng COVID-19….

Posted by Department of Health (Philippines) on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The DOH also reported that that total recoveries rose to 603,310 with 103 newly recovered patients while the death toll climbed to 13,191 with five new fatalities.

The Philippines on Monday reported 10,016 new infections which was the highest since the pandemic began last year.

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