Samantha Bernardo, Reigh John Bench Almendras
Airports no longer mandatory Covid-19 swab testing after the President has approved the authorization. Photo courtesy of NPR.
President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. authorized the removal of the COVID-19 test requirements for incoming visitors and the lifting of the voluntary wearing of face masks in indoor settings.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco said in a press briefing at the Malacañang Palace following the Cabinet Meeting with the President on Tuesday, October 25, 2022.
“The direction of the Marcos Administration is to lift the remainder of travel restrictions into the Philippines, and that includes easing of our mask mandates to allow our country to be at par with our ASEAN neighbors who have long liberalized their mask mandates,” said Secretary Frasco.
President Marcos, Jr. will also create an Executive Order allowing fully-vaccinated visitors to enter the country without the COVID-19 test requirement. There will also be an option for unvaccinated travelers to undergo an antigen test 24 hours before travel or upon arrival in the Philippines, which will replace the test and quarantine requirements.
The DOT Secretary explained registering through eArrival cards would not be mandatory before boarding. Special lanes will also be in the airport for travelers who did not complete the registration.
“Twenty questions that used to be in place have now been reduced to ten, specifically those that are tourism-related. And as agreed during the meeting, it was clarified that the filling out of the eArrival Card would not be made mandatory as a prerequisite to boarding. In other words, you will be able to fill out the eArrival card at your own convenience prior to departure or upon arrival,” said Secretary Frasco.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) approved the easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the country.
Secretary Frasco said they are optimistic about the easing of restrictions as it will benefit the Filipinos and the tourism industry of the country,
“In the end, we simply cannot go on in a pandemic perspective because we have to give our country an opportunity to thrive while maintaining basic health protocol on one hand, and safeguarding and protecting livelihood and the economy on the other,” the Tourism Chief added.
Facemasks will still be required in public transport, medical transport, and medical facilities. It is also “highly encouraged” for those unvaccinated, individuals with comorbidities, and senior citizens.