Palace: PH travel restriction on foreign tourists being studied

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 | Philstar.com photo

THE Philippines’ reopening to international tourists is currently being studied by the national government, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday, November 9, pointed out that the country only closed its borders to foreign tourists, never to arriving Filipinos from other countries.

“Hindi po natin kahit kailan pinigilan ang pag-uwi ng mga kapwa Pilipino natin, iyan po ang standing order ng ating Presidente… Ang hindi lang po natin pinapayagan ngayon ay iyong mga dayuhang mga turista na makapasok (Never did we ban the return home of our fellow Filipinos, that is the standing order of the President… What we are not allowing is the entry of foreign tourists),” he said.

However, the spokesman assured that the possibility of allowing foreign tourists in the country again is under rigorous study.

“Pero alam naman po natin na napakaraming mga Pilipino nakasalalay din sa turismo para sa hanapbuhay. So iyan po ay maigting na pinag-aaralan na dahil marami na rin pong mga bansa ang nagbubukas ng kanilang mga teritoryo para sa turismo (But we know that a lot of Filipinos are depending on tourism for their livelihood. So it’s now being studied since many countries are also opening their territories to tourism),” said Roque.

He urged everyone to exercise patience, noting that nearly 90% of Metro Manila residents are now vaccinated against COVID-19.

According to Roque, the country will allow international tourists again once the Philippine population gets ample protection.

“So antay na lang po tayo dahil encouraging nga po na mahigit 90 percent na ang bakunado sa Metro Manila, at inaantay lang po natin na makahabol iyong ating mga karatig-probinsiya (So let’s just wait for it since it’s encouraging that nearly 90% of Metro Manila are now vaccinated, and we’re only waiting for the nearby provinces to catch up),” he said.

“At tingin ko naman po, hindi naman po para ipagkait iyong ganda ng ating bayan sa mga turista kung mayroon nang sapat na protection ang ating mga kababayan (In my view, we wouldn’t deny tourists the opportunity of seeing our beautiful country once our people get ample protection),” he added.

Last week, Roque said that the country will reopen to international tourists “in due time” as Metro Manila relaxed its COVID-19 restrictions.

“We will open tourism in due time. At ngayon nga po na alert level 2 (And now that we’re under alert level 2), that’s very encouraging,” he said Friday, Nov. 5.

“Titingnan din po natin iyong mga karanasan ng ibang bansa na nagbukas na po para sa international tourism (We will also look at the experience of other countries that have reopened to international tourism),” the spokesman added.

The country’s Bureau of Immigration, for its part, said that it is ready to accept foreign tourists should the government decide to lift the country’s travel restrictions.

“Should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the Office of the President see that the country is ready, we will be happy to welcome again foreign tourists to our shores,” Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said Monday, Nov. 8. n

 

Ritchel Mendiola

Ritchel Mendiola is a staff writer and reporter for the Asian Journal. You can reach her at ritchel.mendiola@asianjournalinc.com.

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