OFW’s, Balikbayan, and Foreigners are Allowed to Leave PH Amidst COVID-19 Crisis


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Contrary to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) advisory earlier, Malacañang Palace, through Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, announced that during the entire “enhanced community quarantine” period in Luzon, Balikbayans, Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and foreigners can leave the country from any port anytime by only showing “proof of international travel itinerary scheduled within 24 hours”. This announcement was made on Tuesday evening. Though, Nograles also reminded that in relation to this, Filipinos will have to observe travel restrictions implemented in the country where they intend to go.

He also added that “non-essential travel” from any point of Luzon will not be allowed anymore and that OFW’s leaving from the country will be provided with transport services by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), with only one person allowed to accompany. With the growing alertness by various government departments regarding the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, measures in response to the crisis are being toughened by suspending “non-essential” works and services through the guidelines of the month-long community quarantine, initially signed by the president last March 12, 2020.

Among those assured in the government’s quarantine measure are the assistance and aid that will be given to employees affected by work suspensions, through the guidelines to be implemented and monitored by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). However, health workers, media employees, persons assigned for medical and humanitarian tasks, and authorized government officials will be given exemptions during the community quarantine period while skeletal workforces will also be established.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Customs (BOC) also assured the immediate release of medical supplies from other countries. Among those which are planning to donate these kinds of materials is China, where the novel coronavirus, now known as Covid-19, was said to have originated. Through Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr’s Twitter account, the Department of Health (DOH) was informed that China “will send 100,000 testing kits, 10,000 N95 masks, 10,000 PPEs (personal protection equipment), 100,000 surgical masks”.

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In relation to this notice, “the BOC urged the logistics industry to remain open to be able to move goods during this time of emergency”. BOC also encouraged its partner sectors – banks, shipping lines, airport operators and airlines to “provide a skeletal workforce or online services for BOC and other stakeholders”.

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Alter Picar

Alter Picar is a writer, translator, self-published author, songwriter / musician, community worker, non-profit organization manager (volunteer), mental health advocate / educator, librarian, and organic gardener.