The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that Filipino and foreign diplomats arriving from Red List countries are exempted from the travel ban and are allowed to enter the Philippines.
In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente the new policy exempting diplomats from the travel ban was adopted under a resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) last November 25.
Morente said a letter on the subject was also conveyed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to different department and agencies last December 2.
According to the BI Chief, the exemption extends also to the diplomats’ qualified dependents, such as their spouses and children, who are holders of valid diplomatic or official passports.
“We have already instructed our immigration officers in the different ports, as well as foreign airlines, about these travel ban exemptions for immediate implementation,” Morente added.
Those covered by the exemption are Philippine officials and their delegations on official travel abroad; Philippine diplomats and their dependents returning to the Philippines at the end of their tour of duty; Philippine foreign service posts personnel arriving for home office consultation or with approved leave of absence; and foreign diplomats and their dependents.
BI allows entry of Filipino, foreign diplomats from Red List countries
The government has already suspended the opening of the Philippines to foreign tourists due to another threat of the new COVID-19 variant Omicron.
“The IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) deemed it necessary to suspend the entry of foreign tourists, given worldwide concerns over the Omicron variant,” said Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente.
Included in the Red List was South Africa, which is said to be the origin of the Omicron variant and even its neighboring countries Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Mozambique.
“Those coming from red list countries within the last 14 days before arrival shall not be allowed to enter the Philippines,” said Morente.