Int’l flight restrictions to continue under GCQ

INTERNATIONAL flight restrictions will continue to be implemented at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) despite the lifting of the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and its being placed with general community quarantine (GCQ).

This was announced by the Bureau of Immigration (BI), adding that travel restrictions which existed under ECQ and MECQ are still in place unless said restrictions are eased or lifted by the government.

Also as a consequence of this, BI operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and BI personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment, since most international flights remain suspended as a result of the travel restrictions which affected Filipinos and foreigners alike who wished to enter or leave the country.

The BI though, assures that it is always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions.

BI port operations chief Grifton Medina said that international flights remain limited and  few since the start of the lockdown in mid-March.

Medina further disclosed that BI officers at the NAIA currently serve an average of only 20 to 30 flights a day, a third of which are special flights that ferry medical supplies and other kinds of cargo into the country.

As for the passenger flights, Medina said these are mostly repatriation flights that transport returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their homelands.

Under existing guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Infectious Diseases (IATF), only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependent, permanent residents and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

All foreigners can leave anytime but Filipinos are not allowed to leave unless they are OFWs, permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination.