Immigration bureau to Filipinos: International travel still restricted amid COVID-19 pandemic

(Eagle News)–The Bureau of Immigration on Sunday, July 5, reminded Filipinos they can’t leave the country as tourists just yet amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Immigration  Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the statement after receiving a report that six Filipinos were offloaded from a special chartered flight going to Cambodia from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on June 29 after they told the immigration officer  they were  going to attend a business meeting on shrimp farming.

The  passengers were merely tourists whose purpose in going abroad was not essential, the bureau said, noting that they did not fall under the category of travelers who are exempted from the travel ban while the country is under community quarantine either.

“We want to emphasize and reiterate that Filipinos are still prohibited from leaving the country unless they are Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), holders of study visas or permanent residents in the country of their destination,” Morente said.

Bureau port operations chief Grifton Medina  urged Filipinos who wish to embark on leisure trips or visit their relatives to be patient and wait for the IATF-EID to lift the  travel restrictions.

“These travel restrictions are only temporary and we should always bear in mind that the government implemented these measures to protect our countrymen against this deadly coronavirus,” he said.