THE Bureau of Immigration yesterday reminded Filipinos who are planning to travel abroad as tourists that they are still not allowed to leave the country because international travel is restricted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente issued the reminder after six Filipinos were recently barred from going to Cambodia via a special chartered flight from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Morente said the six who are traveling as tourists were offloaded by airport and immigration authorities because the purpose of their travel is not essential and they do not fall under the category of travelers exempted from the travel ban.
“We want to emphasize and reiterate that Filipinos are still prohibited from leaving the country unless they are OFWs, holders of study visa, or permanent residents of the country they of their destination,” Morente said.
He said the BI will continue to implement international travel restrictions until these are lifted or relaxed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
BI Port Operations Division Chief Grifton Medina said the six were offloaded from their flight last June 29 after they informed the immigration officer they were going to Cambodia to attend a business meeting on shrimp farming.
Medina said this was not the first time the BI barred departing Filipino tourists from boarding their flights, since the restrictions were imposed by the government three months ago to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Medina also appealed to the public to be a bit more patient.
“These travel restrictions are only temporary and we should bear in mind that the government implemented these measures to protect our countrymen against this deadly coronavirus,” he said.