BI won’t impose additional restrictions on international travel amid MECQ

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The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said Friday they no additional restrictions on would be imposed after Metro Manila and nearby provinces were placed under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

“Existing travel restrictions remain unchanged until these are revised or changed by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement. “Unlike domestic flights which are suspended under MECQ, international flights at our airports in Manila, Cebu and Clark continue.”

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The Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, and Laguna would be under MECQ from August 4 to 18 to help curb the increasing COVID-19 cases in the country.

The BI Chief said issued the statement after the Bureau’s offices were again swamped with numerous calls and queries from the public after the government announced that Metro Manila was reverting to MECQ.

“According to BI Port Operations Division Acting Chief Grifton Medina, the country remains off-limits to foreign tourists. Furthermore, aside from Filipinos, only holders of permanent immigrant visas and foreign spouses, minor dependents and foreign parents of Filipino minor children,” Bureau of Immigration said in a Facebook post.

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No additional restrictions on international travel amid MECQ

“However, dependents of Filipinos and children of foreigners who have special needs may enter the country, regardless of age,” Medina said. He also reiterated that only foreigners, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and Filipinos who are permanent residents or students abroad are permitted to leave the Philippines.

Despite the government allowing entry of foreigners with permanent resident or immigrant visa, only 87 of them have so far arrived since August 1-5, 2020, Medina said.

The number represents a 94-percent decrease from 1,412 permanent residents who went to the Philippines during the same five-day period last year.

Morente, meanwhile, advised the public always to keep themselves updated on international travel guidelines implemented by the BI by accessing the Bureau’s website at www.immigration.gov.ph and other social media accounts such as Immigration Helpline PH and Bureau of Immigration, Republic of the Philippines.

“Postings on the Bureau’s official website and social media accounts are regularly updated to enlighten the public on existing travel guidelines in conformity with the latest issuances of the IATF-EID,” he added.

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