The government approved yesterday, Nov. 27, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) Resolution 85, which allows entry to foreign spouses of Filipinos and their children regardless of age, and balikbayans starting Dec. 7.
According to IATF, they are allowed visa-free entry under Republic Act No. 6768 or the “Act Instituting the Balikbayan Program.”
All must be pre-booked at a quarantine facility and must have pre-booked COVID-19 testing at a laboratory operating at the airport. Their entry is subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that allowing entry of balikbayans or former Filipino citizens into the country during the holidays is a great cause for celebration for millions of families.
“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 IATF also directed the Bureau of Immigration (BI) to formulate the necessary guidelines to ensure smooth implementation while the DOT has been tasked to issue the necessary guidelines for the provision of sufficient accommodation, taking into account the release of test results.
Puyat added, “Balikbayans are considered a viable source market of the country for tourism, particularly extending to the second- and third-generation dependents who have yet to discover their parents’ roots.
“The Filipino diaspora has reached about 10 million. That is why we deem important the Filipino communities abroad as staunch partners in driving visitors to the Philippines.”