Staying at home for two months straight is quite the experience. You might be looking for a change of scenery, but it might take a while before you step on foreign soil again.
The quarantine has eased in the National Capital Region, but international travel is still restricted at the Ninoy Aguino International Airport (NAIA), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on May 29.
Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said in statement that travel restrictions enforced during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) and modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) are still in effect, unless the national government alters lifts it.
"As a consequence, our operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and our personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment," Morente said. He mentioned that most of the international flights are still suspended, even though Pasay City—which is in Metro Manila—will shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 1.
There are no guidelines from the government yet, but Morente said the airport is ready to operate if given the go signal.
"Nonetheless, we assure the public that we are always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions," he added.
While there are no commercial flights at NAIA, that doesn’t mean the airport’s fully closed. BI acting port operations chief Grifton Medina said the airport’s immigration officers still serve an average of 20 to 30 flights a day—a third of which carries medical supplies and other cargo the country needs.
NAIA still gets passenger flights, but they’re mostly repatriation flights for returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). Stranded foreigners join chartered sweeper flights in order to return to their home countries, Medina said.
Only the following may enter the country: Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats.
All foreign nationals can leave anytime, but Filipinos can’t just fly out. Only OFWs, permanent residents of foreign countries, and student visa holders of a particular country are allowed to leave.
On May 29, President Rodrigo Duterte announced that Metro Manila would be placed under GCQ from June 1 to June 15 in order to restart the economy. Only 10 to 50% of mass transport is allowed to operate on limited capacity, and only as 75% of a company's employees are allowed to physically report to work.
Main image from John Paul Solis on Wikimedia Commons.