BI includes Taiwan in expanded travel ban

Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente announced the expansion of the travel ban to include tourists from Taiwan.

We have confirmed with the Department of Justice, which is our mother department, that Taiwan is indeed included in the expanded travel ban," Morente announced on Monday.

It can be recalled that on February 2, the BI implemented an order from President Rodrigo Duterte in banning all foreign nationals coming from China, as well as its Special Administrative Regions.

According to the BI, any passenger of any nationality who has been to China, Hong Kong, and Macao within 14 days before coming to the Philippines shall automatically be denied entry. Only Filipino citizens and aliens with permanent resident visas may be allowed entry.

The BI said permanent resident aliens are those who were issued immigrant visas under the Philippine Immigration Act, those who are residents following the alien legalization program under Executive Order 324 or the alien social integration program under Republic Act 7919, holders of native born visas; aliens who acquired permanent resident status by reasons of marriage to a Filipino; and aliens with approved refugee status.

However, questions from different agencies sought clarification if Taiwan is included in the ban.

While not explicitly stated, we have confirmed with the Secretary of Justice that Taiwan is indeed part of the ban, and this expansion shall be implemented immediately, said Morente. The same was earlier announced by the Department of Health.

Morente announced that the travel ban will be implemented immediately, and will follow the same procedure.

Under the guidelines, if a foreign passenger not exempted from the ban is encountered at the ports, he or she shall be automatically denied entry and returned to his port of origin.

Filipinos and aliens who are exempted from the ban shall be turned over to the Bureau of Quarantine for their assessment, together with a copy of their arrival cards.

Filipinos are likewise temporarily not allowed to leave for China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan unless they are part of a government delegation conducting official duties, a member of the World Health Organization, and other agencies involved in fighting or containing the 2019 nCoV ARD.

Morente stressed that the measure is temporary.

"We are implementing the directive of President Duterte, following the recommendations of the Department of Health," said Morente.

"Other countries have been implementing similar measures, we appeal to the public to bear with us as we implement this, as this is a measure seen by the DOH to effectively prevent the further spread of this virus," he added.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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