The Philippine government will allow foreign nationals with long-term visas, specifically immigrant visas, to enter the country starting August 1.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque announced this in a statement on Friday, July 17.
"They must first have valid and existing visas at the time of the entry. This means no new entry visa shall be accepted," said Roque.
The Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No 56 reads:
"Beginning 01 August 2020, foreign nationals with long-term (immigrant visa under Sec. 13 of CA 613; RA 7919 and EO 324, including native-born foreign nationals) shall be allowed entry in the Philippines while maintaining the priority of returning Overseas Filipinos."
Foreigners must also comply with two requirements, apart from having valid visas.
"Foreign nationals must also secure a pre-booked accredited quarantine facility and a pre-booked COVID-19 testing provider," said Roque.
Foreigners should also be warned that airports and seaports are observing a maximum capacity of travelers in order to comply with physical distancing rules.
The government has accredited many hotels as quarantine facilities. They've been used mostly by Filipinos returning from abroad. The government shoulders the quarantine expenses and swab testing of overseas Filipino workers but returning Filipinos who are not OFWs usually shoulder their rooms and tests.
Persons from abroad are required to undergo quarantine until they receive a negative result from a reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.
The government has set up mega swabbing centers near airports. Mactan-Cebu International Airport in Cebu province has its own testing facility with a laboratory that can process 1,500 to 3,000 tests per day and releases.
The airport facility releases results in 24 hours – the shortest processing time in the country for swab test results.
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.