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President Duterte issued a stricter lockdown status for Metro Manila and other regions from August 4-August 18. However, foreigners w/Permanent Resident Visas can still enter the Philippines despite stricter lockdowns. International air travel flights are still ongoing.

Consequently, when the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) went into effect, I assumed that international air travel would end. The government had already put a stop to domestic air travel.

Moreover, I wasn’t the only one who made that assumption. An August 07, 2020 Press Release from the Philippine Bureau of Immigration, BI, indicated the same. BI offices were again busy with numerous calls and queries from the public after the government announcement that Metro Manila was reverting to MECQ.

Foreigners w/Permanent Resident Visas Still Allowed in Philippines Despite Stricter Lockdowns

“Existing travel restrictions remain unchanged until these are revised or changed by the InterAgency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID),” BI Commissioner Jaime Morente said in a statement. “Unlike domestic flights which are suspended under MECQ, international flights at our airports in Manila, Cebu and Clark continue.”

According to BI Port Operations Division Acting Chief Grifton Medina, the country remains off limits to foreign tourists. Furthermore, aside from Filipinos, only holders of permanent immigrant visas and foreign spouses, minor dependents and foreign parents of Filipino minor children can enter the country.

“However, dependents of Filipinos and children of foreigners who have special needs may enter the country, regardless of age,” Medina said. Only foreigners, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), and Filipinos who are permanent residents or students abroad may leave the country.

Medina also reported that despite the government’s decision to allow the entry of aliens with permanent resident or immigrant visa, only 87 of them have so far arrived since August 1-5, 2020.

The figure represents a 94-percent drop from 1,412 permanent residents who arrived in the country during the same five-day period in 2019.

Stranded abroad are still about 15,000 foreigners who are permanent residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s according to earlier BI records.

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