The Bureau of Immigration (BI) announced that they will be implementing the most recent directive from Malacanang expanding the travel ban to include passengers coming from Malaysia and Thailand starting July 25.
The two adds to the already eight existing countries temporarily banned to prevent the further spread and community transmission of emerging Covid-19 variants.
The other countries covered by the travel ban are India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia.
“Foreigners arriving from said countries or with a travel history there within the last 14 days will be denied entry and will immediately be sent back to their port of origin,” said Morente. “On the other hand, Filipinos arriving from these countries, as part of repatriation efforts by the government and non-government sectors, will be allowed entry but will be subjected to set protocols by other government agencies,” the BI chief added.
Morente clarified that those who are already in transit and will be arriving before July 25 will be allowed entry, but will be required to undergo a strict 14-day facility-based quarantine.
BI chief thanks Congress for prioritizing new immigration law
Meanwhile, Morente thanked the House of Representatives for including the proposed Bureau of Immigration Modernization Act as one of the top priorities for its 3rd and final regular session.
In a statement, Morente thanked members of the Congress, particularly House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco, for naming the proposed immigration law as one of the five important measures identified by the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC).
Apart from the BI law, among those reportedly named are Creating the Philippine Virology Institute Act, The Center for Disease Control Act, Amendments to the Continuing Professional Development Act of 2016, and the National Housing Development act.
“The new law is very timely as it will modernize border control,” said Morente. “The prevailing law is a very old law, which was created in the 1940s. Many of the provisions do not apply in current times. The new law will reorganize the structure of the BI, specify responsibilities, define visa categories, put in safeguards for checks and balances, and improve the salaries of our men,” he added.
The new law, which Morente sees as the solution for current BI woes, also seeks to confer to the Commissioner disciplinary authority over its personnel. “Quick and swift disciplinary action is needed to deter wrongdoings amongst our ranks,” said Morente.