Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the Philippines is not yet ready to accommodate more foreigners amid calls to lift the travel ban on foreigners.
The government should be taking “calibrated” steps in the Philippine economy’s gradual reopening, Nograles said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV on Tuesday.
“Right now, hindi pa tayo handa. Hindi namin sinasabing no as in no, ang sinasabi lang po natin, step by step process po ‘yan,” said Nograles who is also co-chairperson of the policy-making Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF).
“Kailangan natin i-ensure na mayroon tayong facilities, may quarantine, may isolation; handa po ang bansa na tumanggap ng foreigners hindi lang dahil sa love pero kahit sa tourism at whatever other reasons para sila po’y pumarito sa bansang Pilipinas,” he added.
The official also said the IATF is already finalizing the guidelines for the outbound travel of Filipinos.
“’Yung bansang pupuntahan mo eh dapat i-check mo muna kung tatanggap ba sila ng Filipino,” he said.
“‘Yung mga lalabas ng bansa at pupunta sa ibang bansa ay nandoon po naka-set up ‘yung mga protocols to make sure na safe sila, ligtas sila ‘pag sumakay sila ng eroplano at pag-landing po nila doon sa ibang bansa eh mananatiling COVID-free.”
Nograles: PH not yet ready to accept more foreigners
Nograles expressed hope that the Philippines could again accept foreigners in the future.
“Unti-unti binubuksan natin ang ating domestic tourism pero ‘pag handa na po tayo, bubuksan din naman natin eventually ‘yung international tourism. That’s just not tailored fit para sa mga love is not tourism na panawagan kundi pati na rin ‘yung tourism sector itself,” Nograles said.
Only Filipino citizens and their foreign spouses and children and holders of government-issued diplomatic visas and permanent resident visas are allowed to enter the Philippines.
In July, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered the DFA’s legal office to find ways to “find all ways to get around” the travel ban so fiances of Filipinos could enter the country and get married.
In 2018, international tourist arrivals to the Philippines rose by 7.7% to 7.1 million visitors.