The OCTA Research team said Thursday that the government should defer inbound travel to the Philippines and let the COVID-19 situation improve further in the meantime.
“Kung puwedeng ipagpaliban hanggang bumababa pa ng kaunti [ang mga kaso], hanggang mag-improve pa’ yung health indicators,” OCTA Research team’s Professor Ranjit Rye told GMA News Online.
“Ang posisyon namin, pag-aralan nang mabuti ‘yan. Maraming bansa sa buong mundo na hindi pa nagtatanaggap masyado ng inbound [travelers],” he added.
“Naiintindihan namin ‘yung outbound travel pero ‘yung inbound, pag-aralan with health experts ‘yan.” he added.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said last week that the government is still reviewing the policy on the restrictions on foreign travelers’ entry in the Philippines.
After the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases earlier eased the restrictions on tourism or outbound travel of Filipinos starting October 21.
The experts earlier said that the country’s COVID-19 reproduction number was on a downward trend. Rye told GMA News Online that the situation is still critical.
“Ang posisyon namin, ang Pilipinas, hindi pa talaga, wala pa, hindi pa nagpapakita ng health indicators tsaka improvement na puwedeng mag-invite na agad, mag-open up ng [foreign] tourism natin,” he said.
OCTA Research urges deferment of inbound travel to PH
Rye recommended allowing inbound travel only for “very specific circumstances,” such as in emergency cases, and with strict observance of rules and regulations.
According to the Bureau of Immigration (BI), “Currently, only Filipinos, their spouse, and minor children are allowed to enter the country holding tourist visas. Restrictions allow foreign children with special needs of Filipinos, foreign parent of minor Filipinos, and foreign parent of Filipino children with special needs to enter the country.”
Accredited foreign government and international organization officials, foreign airline crew members and seafarers, and foreigners with long-term visas are also allowed to enter the Philippines.
Nograles said the government would look into requests for entry of some foreign workers but on a case-by-case basis.
“If it’s work-related and necessary or desirable or important or urgent ‘yung type na work na kailangang gawin sa bansa, dumadaan sa proseso ‘yan. There’s a process na kailangan sundin, mga papeles, mga requirements na kailangan ipakita para payagan ang foreigner na pumunta dito inbound,” Nograles said.