Mindanao Times

Returning OFWs to China not covered by travel ban


MANILA -- Filipinos with work permits in China and its special administra­tive regions are not covered in the travel ban imposed by Malacañang in response to the 2019-novel coronaviru­s (2019-nCoV) outbreak, the Philippine Embassy in Beijing said Sunday.

“Overseas Filipino workers are not prohibited from returning to China if they have a visa and work permit there,” Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).

This comes as President Rodrigo Duterte issued a directive in an attempt to contain the fast-spreading novel coronaviru­s.

The directive announces the “temporary ban on Filipinos from travel to China and its Special Administra­tive Regions,” which according to Sta. Romana only covers “Filipino tourists”.

The said order also contains the travel ban on “the entry of any person, regardless of nationalit­y, except Filipinos directly coming from China and its special administra­tive regions”.

Before the Philippine government restricted the entry of visitors coming from China, the 2019-nCoV’s epicenter, Beijing had earlier banned all outbound tour groups in a bid to contain the outbreak.

Although the tourism industry is projected to bear the brunt of the slump in the number of big-spending Chinese tourists, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said the safety of Filipino citizens and travelers alike remains a top priority as it assured the implementa­tion of the chief executive’s order.

“While the DOT is mandated to encourage, promote, and develop tourism as a major socio-economic activity, at this time our first priority is ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of all,” Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

Puyat urged the public to “stay informed and abide by the suggested guidelines issued by our health department to minimize risk and help stem the spread of the coronaviru­s.”

“For your safety, we ask for your full cooperatio­n and understand­ing at this time,” she added.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines