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Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente expressed hope that passenger arrivals in the country will bounce back up next year.

“We are optimistic and expect the numbers to pick up in 2021, hopefully when we see an end to this pandemic,” said Morente in a statement.

The BI chief lamented that the country posted a dismal 3.5 million passenger arrivals from January to September compared to the 13 million who arrived during the same period last year.

“If you look at the figures, it starts with a strong 1.7 million arrival in January, then drops to less than 500,000 in March, and slumps to a mere 25,000 in April,” he cited.

At the moment, Morente said only Filipinos, their spouse and minor children are allowed to enter the country holding tourist visas.

Restrictions likewise 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.

“We are ready to implement any changes in the travel restrictions imposed by the IATF (Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases),” said Morente.

“We trust their wisdom, and our men are on standby to serve international travelers in our airports and seaports,” he added.

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