(MNS Photo)

MANILA, Dec 4 (Mabuhay) — Filipinos coming from the 14 countries covered by the travel ban due to the Omicron variant may still come home to the Philippines through repatriation flights, the Bureau of Immigration said Saturday.

BI Spokesperson Dana Sandoval, however, said that the only concern there is that flights coming from countries under the Red List are still suspended.

“So they would have to enter the Philippines through repatriation flights, either government or non-government initiated or mga bayanihan repatriation flights po,” she said.

PH widens Red List, bars travel from 7 European countries amid Omicron threat

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) earlier placed on the red list the following countries amid the threat of the Omicron variant:

South Africa

Botswana

Namibia

Zimbabwe

Lesotho

Eswatini

Mozambique

Austria

Czech Republic

Hungary

The Netherlands

Switzerland

Belgium

Italy

“Anyone coming from these 14 travel restricted countries, as well as those with travel history within the last 14 days galing sa mga bansang ito, hindi po muna natin mapapayagang pumasok (from these countries will not be allowed to enter),” Sandoval said.

In an interview on TeleRadyo, Sandoval said that most Filipino travelers affected by the travel restrictions are overseas workers who are going back to the Philippines.

“They have to coordinate with our Philippine embassy or consulate na pinakamalapit sa kanila para maalalayan sila sa kanilang repatriation flights, makapag-book ng special flight pabalik, sama-sama po sila,” she said.

Sandoval said that there is always the possibility that travelers may opt to move to another country not under the red list then book a flight back to the Philippines.

But she assured the public that the Bureau of Immigration is prepared to conduct 100-percent passport inspection to check the travel history of all arriving passengers within the last 14 days.

“’Pag nakita po na galing sila sa 14 travel-restricted countries kung foreign national sila hindi sila papapasukin ng bansa, kung Filipino naman po ire-refer sila sa Bureau of Quarantine for the strict implementation of the 14-day quarantine,” she explained. (MNS)

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