The Philippines has yet to lift restrictions for outbound travel while only inbound travel with “specific urgent purposes” would be allowed, Palace spokesman Harry Roque clarified on Monday.

“Wala pa pong agreement in principle. Hindi ko po alam kung saan nanggaling iyong impormasyon that there was an agreement in principle,” he told reporters in a Palace briefing, referring to the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases of IATF.

Roque said outbound travel would remain limited to essential travel.

For inbound travel, Roque said the country’s doors would remain closed for tourism.

“[Inbound travel] will be for a specific urgent purpose and it will have to be endorsed by a line agency of government that has jurisdiction over the purpose of the alien in coming to the Philippines,” he explained.

Over the past week, the hashtag #LoveIsNotTourism trended on Twitter. Some users of the platform, distanced from their partners amid the Covid-19 pandemic, protested the travel restrictions.
Some 9,100 people have also signed an online petition on change.org to ease the Philippines’ travel ban.

“Alam ko po masamang balita ito sa mga nagmamahalan, pero mas mabuti na pong alam ninyo kung ano ang katotohanan nang hindi muna kayo po umasa. It’s not a personal decision that I made, it’s a decision of the IATF and I am only the spokesperson of the IATF. Pasensya na po,” Roque said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro