Stringent quarantine requirement for international passengers travelling to the Philippines causes hesitation among returning Filipinos and international travellers.
Margie Felias from Melbourne is set to visit family in the Philippines and India this year but her excitement turns into anxiety. Travel restrictions and quarantine requirements are still in place in their destination country.
“We wanted to book a flight and have a three month holiday but we are worried about the quarantine rules and possible changes in the travel restrictions. We still don't know what will happen," Ms Felias told SBS Filipino.
- Fully-vaccinated Australians and permanent residents are free to leave the country and come back without the need to do mandatory hotel quarantine in selected states
- Australia is still in the Philippines’ Yellow List of countries
- Filipino travellers or balikbayans arriving from "Yellow" areas must go through mandatory quarantine and swab testing for Covid-19 at a government-approved facility.
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The ban on Australians leaving the country without an exemption has been lifted but My Travel Solution Director, Chris Centeno says that vaccinated passengers are desiring to visit friends and relatives than having leisure getaways.
“My personal analysis of the opening of the border is not for leisure and commercial. From what I’m seeing, it is to connect with families to go back to our country of origin and visit family members.”
“I know that the public is quite overwhelmed with the re-opening of borders. We wanted to go on a holiday pre-pandemic however, the future is uncertain. The opening of our international border, I would even say, personally, up until next year would be the trial and error stage,” Mr Centeno says.
Travelling to the Philippines
Each destination country has different rules in place for testing and quarantine.
Following the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) resolutions, currently, only Filipinos, balikbayans, and foreigners with valid and existing visas would be coming from countries under the green or yellow list may be allowed to enter the Philippines.
Australia remains on the yellow list and passengers from the country are subject to applicable quarantine and testing protocols as implemented by the Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ).
“Even if they are now naturalised citizens, even if they are not dual citizens, yes they can go back to the Philippines provided they can prove that they still have their old passport and birth certificate. Those are the proofs document required to be eligible for the balikbayan program," Mr Centeno adds.
"As an Australian citizen or Filipinos going back to the Philippines you are required to get a PCR test when you leave the country depending on the airline, but let say for example with Philippine Airlines, you don’t need to get a PCR test as part of that guideline. Before you fly into the Philippines, you have to apply for the Red Cross Philippines, secure a travel declaration form and download Traze app."
"Most importantly, is the quarantine requirement, you have to register and purchase your quarantine accommodation. People who can travel are fully vaccinated," Mr Centeno shares.
Meantime, the IATF-EID has also approved the recommendation of the Department of Foreign Affairs to accept or recognize the Covid-19 vaccination certificates of Australia, Czech Republic, Georgia, India, Japan, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Turkey, and Samoa.