On Monday, November 8, 2021 The Bureau of Immigration (BI) assured that it is ready for the eventual reopening of the country’s borders to foreign tourists amid the continuing decline in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
According to Bureau of Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente in a statement:
“Our frontline officers at the airports are ready and prepared, and we assure the traveling public of uninterrupted service should they decide to travel to the Philippines,”
Morente said that while the current manpower of the BI would need to be increased should international travel resume to normal, as in the past, the Bureau has put in place a response plan to address manpower needs.
Atty. Carlos Capulong, BI Acting Port Operations Chief, disclosed that the recently adopted rapid response mechanism calls for the mobilization of BI personnel assigned to the other operating units of his division to perform primary inspection, and supervisory duties during times of heavy influx of passengers.
He also bared that the Bureau is eagerly awaiting the appointments from the Department of Justice of the much-needed 195 new immigration officers who will be hired and later deployed in and outside of Metro Manila.
The BI issued the statement after Press Secretary Harry Roque said during a press briefing that the Philippines will reopen to international tourists in due time.
Roque said that while Metro Manila's shift to Alert Level 2 from Alert 3 is very encouraging, the government will first have to observe the experience of other countries that have already reopened to foreign tourists.
He also bared that government is studying calls to expand its "green list" of territories whose travelers are no longer required to undergo facility-based quarantine upon their arrival.
"Should the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and the Office of the President see that the country is ready, we will be happy to welcome again foreign tourists to our shores," said Morente.
The Bureau of Immigration has also advised the general public to refer to the below current travel restrictions:
The BI earlier reported a 72% drop in international arrivals during the first three quarters of 2021 as compared to the same period last year.