Philippines lifts travel ban for citizens, non-essential overseas trips can resume from Oct 21

A photo from Aug 4, 2020, shows airline ground staff wearing protective gear at the airport in Manila. - AFP

MANILA Oct 16 (Philipines Daily Inquirer/ANN): The Philippines' Covid-19 (coronavirus) task force has lifted a ban on overseas travel for Filipino tourists, the presidential office said on Friday.

Non-essential overseas travel can resume, starting Oct 21, ending a restriction in effect since July and potentially increasing customers for Philippine carriers that have suffered amid the pandemic.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Filipinos intending to leave the country must have negative antigen test results, confirmed plane tickets, and health and travel insurance.

“They may be allowed to leave the country subject to the submission of confirmed roundtrip tickets and adequate travel and health insurance for those travelling with tourist visas, execution of an immigration declaration acknowledging the risks involved in travelling and a negative antigen (test) result taken within 24 hours before departure, subject to the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines,” Roque said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Reuters said the Philippines' Energy Minister said on Friday (Oct 16) that the government's move to lift a moratorium on petroleum exploration in the South China Sea was a unilateral decision that China is expected to respect.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, in a virtual media briefing, also said he did not expect the move to affect a memorandum of understanding between the two countries on a possible joint development in the disputed waters as well as joint venture talks among exploration companies.

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has lifted the moratorium that began in 2014 on petroleum exploration in the South China Sea, paving the way for three projects to resume, and for the energy ministry to award more service contracts. - Philipines Daily Inquirer/Asian News Network
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