The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), in their Resolution No. 57, approved the essential outbound travel of Filipinos.
In his press briefing on July 23, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque, Jr., who is also the concurrent IATF Spokesperson, said that foreign travel of Filipinos is still subject to conditions.
First is the execution of a Bureau of Immigration Declaration that the traveler acknowledges the risks involved in travelling and the risk of delay in their return trip. Upon their return, they shall likewise follow the guidelines of the National Task Force on returning overseas Filipinos.
Essential outbound travel includes trips of Filipinos leaving for business and work, medical, emergency, and other humanitarian reasons, which cannot be postponed.
Meanwhile, non-essential outbound travel, which was allowed in the IATF Resolution No. 52, was suspended per the IATF in their latest meeting.
“Isa sa mga kondisyon doon ay ang pagkakaroon ng travel at health insurance to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded, at hospitalization kung sakaling may impeksyon. Ang malungkot na balita po, iisang insurance company lamang sa Pilipinas ang pumayag ng ganitong travel at health insurance,” said Secretary Roque.
The Palace official clarified, however, that for those with already confirmed bookings as of July 20, 2020, they will be allowed to continue with their non-essential outbound travel.
The IATF likewise supported the efforts of the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to negotiate the terms of existing bilateral labor agreements.
Lastly, the most recent IATF Resolution reiterated that mass gatherings are prohibited in areas under general community quarantine in view of the forthcoming State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Monday, July 27, 2020.
“In the upcoming State of the Nation Address, I understand, that there is already agreement between the Quezon City government and protesters that they can protest from 10 to 12. So that shows the commitment of the President to right to freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly,” stressed Sec Roque.
On another matter, the Palace official shared in the same media briefing, the result of his visit earlier in the day to the mega swabbing facility in the SM MOA Arena.
“Kanina po dumalaw po tayo sa SM MOA Arena kung saan meron tayong Mega Swabbing Center, na nagte-test po ng 2,000 hanggang 2,500 na katao kada-araw galing sa iba’t-ibang parte ng Metro Manila,” said Secretary Roque.
The mega swabbing facility in SM MOA Arena caters to nearby local government units as well as to Overseas Filipino Workers, returning overseas Filipinos, locally stranded individuals, and even members of the Philippine Army.
Meanwhile, Chief Testing Czar Secretary Vivencio “Vince” Dizon told Secretary Roque said that those who want to avail of the free swab test can coordinate with their LGUs or go straight to the facility to have themselves tested, even without an appointment. Test results will be sent to the individual through email or through their respective LGUs. ###OPS-PCOO