THE Bureau of Immigration (BI) yesterday stopped barring travelers coming in from or leaving for Taiwan.
BI Commissioner Jaime Morente announced that he has instructed all port personnel to allow the entry of travelers from Taiwan and those leaving for that country, particularly overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).
“We have received an order from the Office of the President yesterday afternoon lifting the travel restrictions,” said Morente. “This follows the resolution of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Disease (IATF), which we are bound to implement immediately. Hence, travel may now be made by any foreign national to Taiwan from the Philippines and vice versa,” he stated.
Also benefiting from the lifting of the Taiwan travel ban are members of the diplomatic corps, regardless of nationality.
For workers benefit
The House Minority group welcomed the government’s decision to lift the ban on travel to Taiwan as this will benefit at least 120,000 Filipino workers.
Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante is among those who questioned the inclusion of Taiwan in the list of countries covered by the travel ban amid the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19).
“This is good news for the thousands of our kababayans working in Taiwan, particularly those who regularly travel to and from Taiwan,” Abante said.
“I understand that our health officials want us to take every precaution to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in our country, and I commend them for the steps they have taken to monitor and contain the disease,” he added.
Abante advised government agencies that in every measure, they must also take into consideration the initiatives made by other governments to take similar precautions, as well as the advisories from World Health Organization (WHO).
“When it is determined that travel restrictions are not necessary, then we should not impose them so as not to further exacerbate the adverse economic effects of the outbreak,” he said.
Cebu Pacific yesterday announced CEBPAC will resume flights between Manila and Taipei with the following schedule:
Monday [February 17-until further notice] 5J 310 Manila-Taipei [Departs 10:40pm]
Tuesday [February 18- until further notice] 5J 311 Taipei-Manila [Departs 1:45am Mon/Wed/Sat; 2:15am Tue/Thu/Fri/Sun]
February 21, 2020 [until further notice] Manila-Taipei 5J 312 [Departs 7:05am] and 5J 310 [Departs 10:40pm].
Taipei-Manila 5J 311 [Departs 1:45am] and 5J 313 [Departs 10:45am]
Meanwhile, Passengers booked on these flights who have not availed themselves of a refund or travel fund will depart as scheduled.
They are being notified through the contact details provided upon booking. They may also check the status of their flights through the Manage Booking portal on the Cebu Pacific website, https://book.cebupacificair.com/Manage/Retrieve/.
For concerns regarding rebooked flights between Taipei and Manila, the CEBPAC requested the passengers to message them via the official Cebu Pacific account on Facebook or Twitter, or through our website for assistance.
Guests in the Philippines may also visit the Cebu Pacific ticket offices located at: Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas Ave, Quezon City; Robinsons Place, Ermita, Manila; NAIA Terminal 3 [Departure Level]; NAIA Terminal 4; Mactan Cebu International Airport and Robinsons Galleria Cebu.
“We will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available”, the CEBPAC said.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) said that they will resume flights to and from Taiwan beginning February 21, after the government lifted the travel ban imposed amid the novel coronavirus [COVID-19] threat.
In a statement issued yesterday, PAL said it will operate the following flights to and from Taipei Taoyuan International Airport starting Feb. 21:
• PR 890: Manila-Taipei [departing Manila at 6:05 a.m.; arriving in Taipei at 8:30 a.m.]
• PR 891: Taipei-Manila [departing Taipei at 9:30 a.m.; arriving in Manila at 11:40 a.m.]
The company said the above-mentioned flights will be offered every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday from Feb. 21 to 29.
Meanwhile, Tigerair Taiwan will launch Cebu-Taipei flight with US$39 one-way seat sale.
However, starting March 1, these flights will operate daily.
PAL said starting March 29, its regular twice daily flights [PR 890/891 and PR 894/895] will be in effect.
It advised passengers confirmed on previously canceled flights to book on the restored PR 890 and PR 891 flights.
They may contact their travel agent for rebooking, or contact PAL at [+632] 8855-8888 if their tickets were bought online via the PAL website or PAL Contact Center.
Those who bought tickets at PAL ticket offices may proceed to the nearest PAL ticket office for rebooking.
Passengers in Taiwan may contact PAL Taipei Reservations at 02-2506-7255 or 8862-2506-7255, the company said.
With Jester P. Manalastas