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By Prince Golez

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases is now studying the possibility of allowing foreigners to enter the country, Cabinet Secretary and IATG co-chairman Karlo Nograles said.

“The government recognizes that there are foreign citizens abroad who want to spend the holidays with their loved ones and fiancées here in the Philippines,” Nograles said in a press statement Sunday.

Malacañang earlier announced that the government will lift the restriction on non-essential outbound travel of Filipinos starting October 21.

Under IATF Resolution No. 79, “outbound travel of Filipinos, regardless of purpose, may be allowed” subject to compliance with the following requirements:

– For those travelling on tourist visas: submission of confirmed round-trip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance to cover travel disruptions and hospitalization in case of COVID-19 infections during their allowable period of stay abroad.

– Execution of a Bureau of Immigration Declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling, including risk of delay in their return trip, to be provided at the check-in counters by the airlines.

– As a pre-boarding requirement, a negative Antigen test result taken within 24 hours before departure, in accordance with the guidelines and protocols as may be issued by the Department of Health with regard to its fair and appropriate use or, whenever required by the country of destination, a negative test result taken in accordance with the the health and safety protocols of the destination country. Provided, that the undertaking of either test as appropriate shall be facilitated by the airline carrier.

The resolution also said that overseas Filipino workers, students abroad and participants accepted in exchange visitor programs, permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions, and foreign nationals, may leave the Philippines through any of the airports or seaports.

Upon return, outbound Filipino travelers shall be required to follow the Guidelines of the National Task Force for Returning Overseas Filipino Workers.

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