Palace spokesperson Harry Roque reported last week that the Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) gave the thumbs-up to allow into the country former Filipino citizens as well as Filipinos’ foreign spouses and children regardless of age. The decision took effect on December 7.
Roque added that they would need a pre-booked quarantine facility and pre-booked Covid19 testing at a laboratory in the airport before entering.
The Bureau of Immigration is directed to draft guidelines regarding the entry of foreign citizens, while the Department of Tourism is tasked to create guidelines on accommodation for these individuals based on their Covid19 test results.
The decision comes as the Christmas season draws closer. DOT secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that allowing balikbayans (former Filipino citizens) to enter is good news for their families back in the Philippines, as this will enable them to spend the holidays together.
“This not only bodes well for our ailing industry but is good tidings for our kababayans who have been clamoring to be reunited with their loved ones from abroad, especially this yuletide season,” she said.
The decision is also good news for returning Filipinos and their spouses, after being denied entry for nearly nine months.