Foreigners can depart Philippines anytime; 24-hour rule lifted - IATF
Foreigners, particularly those in Luzon where enhanced community quarantine is being implemented, could leave anytime without complying with the 24-hour rule, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease said on Wednesday.
In a press briefing in Malacanang, IATF spokesperson and Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said the IATF Resolution No. 13 dated March 17, 2020, Section B(1) was amended.
"Overseas Filipino workers, permanent residents of foreign jurisdictions, and stranded foreign nationals leaving for abroad through any of the ports in Luzon shall be allowed to leave the Philippines without impediment," he said, reading the amended resolution.
But he said the provision should not be interpreted to allow outbound travel to jurisdictions where travel restrictions are in place.
In the previous resolution, the IATF said departing individuals should show proof of international travel itinerary scheduled within 24 hours.
"We have already amended it to lift the 24-hour rule for outbound foreign nationals," Nograles said.
He admitted that the IATF received complaints some foreigners found difficulty to depart because of the 24-hour rule.
He said foreigners have been coordinating with their respective embassies in the country.
"Let us not give the foreigners a hard time...we have lifted the 24-hour limitation so that it will be easier for them to go to the airport and leave the Philippines," Nograles added.
Under the amended IATF resolution, he said the stranded passenger, whether Filipino or foreign nationals, are also allowed to book hotels and seek temporary accommodations.
"For hotel and other forms of accommodations, single occupancy of rooms shall only be required for health workers and repatriated OFWs. Double occupancy of rooms shall be allowed for other individuals not falling within the aforementioned individuals, subject to the guidelines of the DOH (Department of Health)," he said.
The official also said that outbound and repatriated OFWs and stranded foreign nationals shall be granted free and unimpeded access to and from national government facilities, such as airports, ferries, bus terminals, etc., notwithstanding any local government pronouncement to the contrary.
The free access shall extend to the vehicles carrying those individuals in order for them to reach their final destinations, he added.
"No fee or any other requirement shall be imposed by LGUs in this regard," Nograles added.
The whole of Luzon, including Metro Manila, has been under ECQ to restrict movement of people to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
Other LGUs in Visayas and Luzon have also been implementing their respective quarantine. Celerina Monte/DMS