Former Filipino citizens or “balikbayans” will be allowed to enter the Philippines visa-free starting December 7, Malacañang said on Friday, November 27. Their spouses and children, regardless of age, are permitted entry into the country without a visa requirement as well.
According to Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Resolution No. 85, they are allowed to enter into the country provided that they have a quarantine facility booked and a swab test scheduled at any Philippine airport.
“They, too, must be subject to the maximum capacity of inbound passengers at the port and date of entry,” the resolution read.
Filipino citizens’ foreign spouses and children are likewise permitted entrance to the country.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that the Philippine Bureau of Immigration has been directed to formulate guidelines to ensure the policy’s smooth implementation.
The Philippine Department of Tourism, meanwhile, was directed to issue separate guidelines on providing sufficient accommodation for returning spouses and children of Filipinos.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed the decision to allow balikbayans to return to the Philippines during the Christmas season.
“This not only bodes well for our ailing industry but is good tidings for our kababayans who have been clamoring to be reunited with their loved ones from abroad, especially this yuletide season,” she said in a statement on Friday.
She also noted that balikbayans are considered as a viable source market to the Philippines’ tourism sector.
“Balikbayans are considered as a viable source market of the country for tourism, particularly extending to the second and third generation dependents who have yet to discover their parents’ roots,” she said.
“The Filipino diaspora to date, has reached about 10 million. That is why we deem important the Filipino communities abroad as staunch partners in driving visitors to the Philippines,” she added.