Do you have friends and relatives abroad who plan to come home to the Philippines but are not sure how to go about the ever-changing policies and requirements involved in overseas travel? I feel you! So, I did a rather quick and effortless research on how Filipinos abroad can process their re-entry to our country – I found a lot of information online, but I decided to share the ones published on the DFA’s website (pinaka reliable, of course!). I hope this helps.
Quick note, though: These information are for non-OFWs – but I promise to feature the one for OFWs soon, too! 😊
BEFORE YOUR TRIP:
- Register to the following E-CIF from point of origin for a unique QR Code to be presented to One Stop Shop (OSS) upon arrival in the Philippines.
- Pre-book at any Bureau of Quarantine (BOQ)-accredited quarantine hotel for at least 7 days from your arrival date and for non-OFWs and foreign nationals, prepare P4,000 for RT-PCR testing and additional cash for transportation expenses.
AT THE AIRPORT:
- Upon arrival at the airport, submit the accomplished Health Declaration Form to the BOQ.
- Proceed to the OSS Briefing Area for a briefing by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on quarantine protocols and distribution of Affidavit of Undertaking.
- Proceed to Department of Tourism (DOT) Desk for validation of quarantine hotel facility.
- Proceed to Private Laboratory Desk for processing of data and pay for RT-PCR testing to be conducted at your chosen quarantine hotel facility.
- Proceed to Bureau of Immigration (BI) for clearance and passport checks.
- Retrieve your luggage.
- Submit duly accomplished Affidavit of Undertaking to PCG.
- Get airport taxi to your chosen quarantine facility/hotels and observe strict quarantine procedure.
WHILE ON QUARANTINE:
- Plan, consider, and prepare the following:
- Airline or bus ticket
- Letter of Acceptance from your own local government unit (LGU)
- Travel Pass from any PNP office at point of departure.
- My personal note: As one who has travelled from NCR to Baguio City recently, I suggest you check the internet for specific requirements and processes of the province or provinces you wish to visit or will be heading to after your quarantine.
- On Day 6, take the RT-PCR swab test at the quarantine facility by the assigned COVID-19 Private laboratory. Continue observing strict quarantine protocols while waiting for test results.
- Upon receipt of negative RT-PCR result via email, wait for the BOQ health certificate indicating actual number of days on quarantine.
- To check out, present yourself to the quarantine hotel facility in-charge with documents mentioned above (item 3).
COORDINATING WITH THE LGU:
- Upon clearance, avail of authorized transportation to your final destination. Do not loiter around and expose yourself to possible sources of transmission. Your delay in reporting to your LGU can be a ground for imposition of another 14 days quarantine. Always observe health protocols during your travel.
- Upon arrival at your locality, report to your Barangay officials for accounting and instructions. Your LGU has been informed earlier about your arrival through a DILG mechanism.
- Complete home quarantine at your Barangay to complete the required 14 days quarantine or as LGU instructs.
- Once released from quarantine by LGU, continue observing minimum health standards like wearing of face mask, maintaining physical distance and washing of hands.
I remember there was a time when the required quarantine period was 14 days. And then they lowered it to 10 (which was personally experienced by my Uncle), and now, 7. I am not expert on COVID-19 protocols, all I know is that up until now, we need to limit our movements so we do not expose ourselves to possible infection. The numbers of positive cases are still rising and now made even worse by brand new variants that promise to be more harmful and highly contagious than the first ones. Also, even after you have been given the full dosage of the vaccines, you can still catch the virus (although not enough to send you to the hospital, assuming you also have strong lungs and a healthy immune system) and can still spread it to others. So, nothing’s changed, really; not until we reach herd immunity.
To all our kababayans thinking of coming back, we wish you well. And we hope to welcome you home soon!
Babalik… at babalik ka rin!