MANILA, Philippines — Foreigners are still not allowed to come to the Philippines for now, but the government has formed a body that will look into requests to ease the entry restriction on foreign nationals who work for state flagship projects.
A sub-technical working group (TWG) led by the tourism department was created “to study and address the management of foreign nationals who will be allowed to enter the Philippines for specific purposes,” according to Resolution 48 issued last Monday by the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).
The working group is composed of the foreign affairs, finance, justice and health departments and immigration, quarantine and investments bureaus.
“There was a request by an embassy to allow its nationals with work permits as well as the consultants for flagship projects to enter the country. It was not approved and it was sent to the TWG so it can be studied,” presidential spokesman Harry Roque said at a press briefing yesterday.
“For now, those who can enter or leave the Philippines are Filipinos, spouses of Filipinos and diplomats. The decision is not to allow other foreigners for now. A TWG was formed to study this issue, but we won’t allow foreigners to enter for now,” Roque added.
The IATF has suspended the visa-free privileges of foreigners as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), which has infected more than 30,000 people in the country.
Only accredited foreign government and international organization officials and their dependents and foreign spouses and children of Filipino nationals are not covered by the restriction.
Last Monday, Roque noted that the policy on the entry of foreign nationals would apply to all nationalities.
“Many foreign nationals are related to our flagship projects, especially the… contractors, but they cannot be allowed to enter because we cannot make a decision that applies to just one nationality. We have an equal protection clause,” he said.
“If we craft a policy, while only one embassy made the request, it should be equally applicable to all foreigners in our country,” he added.
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.ca