THE Philippines is now allowing all Filipino citizens, including non-overseas Filipino workers, to enter the country, amid the government’s continued battle against a resurgence of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
This, after the National Task Force against Covid-19 (NTF) revised its memorandum regarding pandemic-related restrictions on international travel.
In Memorandum Circular 6 dated March 18, 2021, the NTF clarified that all Filipino citizens, including those that are not overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), would be allowed to enter the Philippines.
The entry of certain foreigners to the country, however, is still suspended from March 22 to April 21, according to the circular.
NTF’s new circular revised a document it released on March 16 that allowed only the entry of OFWs and not ordinary returning overseas Filipinos.
Meanwhile, foreigners exempted from the travel restrictions are diplomats and members of international organizations and their dependents 9(c) or 47(a)(2) visa at the time of entry; foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation; foreign seafarers under the “Green Lanes” program for crew change; foreign spouses and children of Filipino citizens with valid visas at the time of entry; and emergency, humanitarian and other analogous cases approved by the NTF.
The NTF said the Commissioner of Immigration would still have the exclusive prerogative to decide on waiver or recall of exclusion orders for all foreigners allowed to enter the Philippines.
During the March 22 to April 21 period, the travel of Filipinos and exempted foreigners “shall be subject to the arrival quota set by the Department of Transportation,” it added.
The new memorandum circular was signed on Thursday by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, NTF chairman.
On Thursday, the Philippines reported 5,290 new coronavirus infections, the second highest daily tally this year, bringing the country’s total number of cases to 640,984.
The OCTA Research Group this week projected that if the current trend continues, new coronavirus cases in the Philippines can reach up to 11,000 daily.