Malacañang on Thursday, July 23, announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management for Emerging Infectious Diseases has once again suspended non-essential outbound air travel of Filipinos.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, only one travel and health insurance company agreed to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses should a traveler contract the novel coronavirus.
“Isa sa mga kondisyon doon ay ang pagkakaroon ng travel at health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded at hospitalization kung sakaling may infection (One of the conditions was to have travel and health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded and hospitalization in case there’s an infection),” Roque said in a virtual Palace briefing.
“Ang malungkot na balita po, iisang insurance company lamang sa Pilipinas ang pumayag ng ganitong travel and health insurance kaya sinuspendi muna ng IATF ang non-essential outbound travel (The sad news is that only one insurance company in the Philippines agreed to this travel and health insurance that’s why the IATF suspended non-essential outbound travel),” he added.
Roque said that non-essential outbound travel will be suspended until more insurance companies are willing to provide coverage.
“Ipadadala po natin ang communication sa Insurance Commission para sila na po ang humingi sa mga insurance companies na kinakailangan magbigay ng ganitong insurance coverage (We will send the communication to the Insurance Commission so that they will ask insurance companies to give this type of insurance coverage),” he said.
Earlier, the IATF lifted the ban on non-essential outbound travel imposed last March provided that traveling individuals would submit confirmed roundtrip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas, travel and health insurance, proof of allowed entry by the destination country, and a declaration acknowledging the risk of the travel.
Roque, however, assured that passengers with confirmed bookings as of July 20 will be allowed to travel outside the country.
He likewise said that the IATF approved the essential outbound travel of Filipinos but passengers would be subject to certain conditions like executing a Bureau of Immigration (BI) declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, including the risk of delay in their return trip, to be provided for at the check-in counters by the airlines.
The spokesman added that passengers should follow the guidelines of the National Task Force (NTF) for overseas Filipinos upon their return.