Malacañang on Thursday announced that Filipinos leaving for essential outbound travel do not need to secure a travel pass from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“Apparently, the DFA no longer has to issue any travel pass to departing Filipinos. So ngayon ko lang po nalaman iyan (I just found out it now),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual Palace briefing.
Roque said he learned about it after making an inquiry on behalf of a former Philippine ambassador who wanted to go abroad for medical treatment. He did not name the envoy.
“Hindi po yata na-inform ng DFA na hindi na kinakailangang kumuha ng any form of permit for Filipinos to go abroad (The DFA might not have informed the public that there’s no need to get any form of permit for Filipinos to go abroad),” he said.
In a statement after the briefing, Roque told reporters about an August 3 DFA advisory on essential outbound travel.
“The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) informs the public that it does not issue travel permits to outbound Filipino travelers,” the DFA advisory read.
Roque defined essential outbound travel that involves “employment, education, medical, humanitarian and essential business.”
On the other hand, he said non-essential outbound travel remains suspended because only one travel and health insurance company has agreed to cover rebooking and accommodation expenses if stranded and hospitalization in case of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) infection.
“The IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases) reso(lution) still applies in the absence of med(ical) insurance,” he said.
Last July, the IATF initially lifted the ban on non-essential outbound travel imposed last March, subject to certain conditions.
Non-essential outbound travel was initially allowed as long as passengers submit confirmed round-trip tickets for those traveling on tourist visas, travel and health insurance, proof of allowed entry by the destination country, and a declaration acknowledging the risks involved in traveling. (PNA)