Nograles: Philippines not yet ready to accept more foreigners amid COVID-19 pandemic

MANILA, Oct 6 (Mabuhay) — The Philippines is not inclined to accept more foreigners for now amid calls to lift travel restrictions for unmarried foreign partners of Filipinos.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the government is taking “calibrated” steps towards fully reopening the country’s borders for international travel.

“Right now hindi pa tayo handa. Hindi namin sinasabing no as in no, ang sinasabi lang po natin, step by step process po ‘yan,” said Nograles, co-chairperson of the policy-making Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF).

“Kailangan natin i-ensure na mayroon tayong facilities, may quarantine, may isolation; handa po ang bansa na tumanggap ng foreigners hindi lang dahil sa love pero kahit sa tourism at whatever other reasons para sila po’y pumarito sa bansang Pilipinas,” he added.

International couples separated due to the COVID-19 restrictions, however, may still have a chance to be reunited.

Nograles said the IATF is already finalizing the protocols for the outbound travel of Filipinos.

“’Yung bansang pupuntahan mo eh dapat i-check mo muna kung tatanggap ba sila ng Filipino,” he said.

“‘Yung mga lalabas ng bansa at pupunta sa ibang bansa ay nandoon po naka-set up ‘yung mga protocols to make sure na safe sila, ligtas sila ‘pag sumakay sila ng eroplano at pag-landing po nila doon sa ibang bansa eh mananatiling COVID-free.”

The Palace official also expressed hope that the Philippines will welcome back foreign tourists in the future.

“Unti-unti binubuksan natin ang ating domestic tourism pero ‘pag handa na po tayo, bubuksan din naman natin eventually ‘yung international tourism. That’s just not tailored fit para sa mga love is not tourism na panawagan kundi pati na rin ‘yung tourism sector itself,” Nograles said.

The government currently allows foreign spouses and children of Filipinos as well as foreign parents of minor Filipino nationals, including children with special needs regardless of age, to enter the country amid the pandemic.

Foreigners with permanent resident or immigrant visas were also exempted from the inbound travel restrictions.(MNS)

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