The government is further easing travel restrictions by allowing foreign nationals with long-term visas to enter the Philippines, Malacañang said on Friday.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr.

Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) revised Resolution 98 by “deleting the reckoning period of March 20, 2020,” in reference to visas issued to foreign nationals.

The revised IATF-EID resolution states that foreign nationals with valid and existing visas at the time of entry and who were barred from entering the Philippines under previous resolutions, and holders of valid and existing special resident and retiree’s visas and Section 9A visas provided they present an entry exemption document to the Bureau of Immigration upon arrival, are allowed to enter the country.

“Lahat po ng long-term visas na na-issue natin pupuwede na pong pumasok. Antayin na lang po natin kailan papayagan ang mga turista (All foreigners with long-term visas that we have issued can now enter. Let’s just wait for now when tourists will be permitted to enter),” Roque said during an interview with state-run PTV-4.

“Sa ngayon po, ang pinapayagan lang eh lahat ng mga visas ng mga namumuhunan, mga nagtratrabaho, mga kamag-anak ng Pilipino, mga may asawa na Pilipino, mga anak. Halos lahat ng dayuhan, except ang mga turista (Right now, we’re only allowing investors, workers, foreigners with Filipino spouses and their children. Almost all foreigners, except tourists),” Roque added.

Arriving foreign nationals are subject to IATF-EID requirements that include having a pre-booked accommodation for at least six nights in an accredited quarantine hotel or facility.

Foreign travelers must also undergo a reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test six days after their arrival.

The government barred most foreigners from entering the country beginning March 22 last year when Luzon and other parts of the country went into lockdown.

Among those still allowed to enter the country during that time were foreign spouses and their children accompanied by a Filipino national, as well as officials of foreign governments or international organizations.

The Philippines first imposed a ban on travelers from Hubei province, China, where the Covid-19 pandemic originated on January 31 last year. The ban was then expanded to travelers from the rest of China, Hong Kong and Macau on February 22 last year.