The Department of Health (DOH) is looking at the possibility of easing border restrictions for foreign travelers who plan to enter the Philippines, according to officer-in-charge Maria Rosario Vergeire.

Vergeire said during a press conference that the DOH still follows Executive Order (EO) 168 which created the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

The said EO gives the IATF the authority to prevent and/or minimize the influx of suspected or confirmed patients with emerging infectious diseases (EID) into the country through rigid screening and identification of EID suspects, and the institutionalization of a surveillance, alert, and quarantine system in all ports of entry.

“Based on the directives of the President na sabi niya mas makapagbukas pa tayo further ng mga sectors at mas maluwagan natin ang ating mga restrictions sa borders, pag-uusapan ito lahat sa IATF because we need to be able to rescind kung saka-sakali, o amyendahan itong EO 168 for us to relax these restrictions,” she said.

“Lahat pinagaaralan ngayon. Even the border restrictions, pinagaaralan na po ng mga eksperto natin para sa susunod natin na IATF, we will be able to discuss these also with the other sectors,” she added.

 The IATF has already relaxed the travel restrictions in the Philippines last February. It allows foreigners to enter the Philippines for business and tourism purposes following certain conditions.

One of the requirements for foreign nationals includes a full vaccination against Covid-19, except for minors below 12 years old traveling with their fully vaccinated foreign parents.

Ronald Espartinez