Immigration update: Philippines | Guidelines on Enhanced Community Quarantine over the entire Luzon

Guidelines on Enhanced Community Quarantine over the entire Luzon

On 16 March 2020, Pursuant to Proclamation Nos. 929 and 922 series of 2020, the Office of the President through the Executive Secretary has released the guidelines on the Enhanced Community Quarantine over the entire Luzon in relation to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the entire Philippines.

Who will be affected?

This will affect all Filipinos and foreign nationals, regardless of nationalities, who are in Luzon.

Background

On 12 March 2020, the Inter-agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IAFT-EID) has issued a Resolution No. 11 series of 2020 that includes recommendations on the management of the COVID-19 situation in the Philippines.  In addition, IAFT-EID recommended for a community quarantine for Metro Manila and has raised the Code Alert System for COVID-19 to Code Red Sublevel 2.
However, with the increase of confirmed cases of local transmission and patients who tested positive of COVID-19, the Philippine government has imposed an enhanced community quarantine that will cover the entire Luzon.

Impact

The following Santa Fe services will be affected by the enhanced community quarantine:

Immigration Services

  1. Land, air and sea travel shall be restricted.
  • All domestic flights will cease operations within the community quarantine area, except for the cargo flights, air ambulance and medical supplies, government and military flights, weather mitigation flights, and maintenance and utility flights.
  • Passengers who intend to depart the Philippines from any international airports in Luzon shall be allowed to travel for a period of 72 hours from effectivity of the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
  • Inbound international passengers, in transit upon effectivity of the Enhanced Community Quarantine shall be allowed entry, subject to assessment and the required 14-day quarantine.
  • All Filipinos including their foreign spouse and children, foreign nationals who are holders of Permanent Resident Visa, and holder of Diplomatic or 9(E) Visa, shall be allowed entry subject to assessment and the required 14-day quarantine if coming from countries with existing travel restrictions.
  • Movement of cargoes within, to and from the entire Luzon shall continue to operate.
  • Land, air and sea travel of uniformed personnel for official business, especially those transporting medical supplies, laboratory specimens related to the COVID-19, and other humanitarian assistance, shall be allowed.

2. All airports in Luzon will stop all outbound international flights after the 72-hour window period provided by the Philippine government. Hence, passengers departing the Philippines after 12:00 midnight of 20 March 2020 will not be allowed to leave the country.
3. Concerned government offices for immigration related matters such as the Bureau of Immigration (BI), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will be on a skeletal workforce arrangement during the quarantine period. These government agencies will follow the 4-day work week schedule from Monday to Thursday. However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has implemented a temporary work suspension until further notice.  Hence, there will be delay in processing of Special Non-Immigrant or 47(a)(2) visa application.

As per the BI Legal Department, BI Main office is open until 4:00 PM. Hence, the authorities are still accepting applications for work permit and visa processing.  However, all personal appearance at the BI office during the said period shall be deferred as per their instructions and we shall wait for further announcements once the government offices resume normal operations.

4. There will be delay in the foreigner’s work permit, visa processing and other immigration related requirements. In addition, work permit, tourist and work visas that will expire during the quarantine period may not be processed prior to the expiry date.  Otherwise, penalties may be imposed, and downgrading of work visa will be required unless concerned government agencies will provide consideration.

5. Foreign nationals whose work visa renewal application is in process with the BI and existing visa has already expired may not be able to travel out of the country unless BI will authorize such travel.

6. Local Government Unit of Taguig City has declared lockdown effective 12:00 AM, Wednesday, 18 March 2020.  Hence, filing of applications and other transactions at BI PEZA and PEZA located in Bonifacio Global City will be hampered.

7. Under the Enhanced Community Quarantine, movement of people is limited and only those government employees in charge of the community quarantine, people who are providing necessities such as food and medicine, bank skeletal workforce, health and emergency frontline, other critical services will be allowed.


    Destination Service

    1. Classes and school activities in the entire Luzon shall be suspended until 14 April 2020.
    2. Viewing of properties is being declined by the homeowners and/or landlord.
    3. Temporary accommodations (i.e. service apartment and hotels) are not accepting new guests until further notice.
    4. Mass gatherings, orientation, small meetings shall be prohibited.
    5. A strict home quarantine shall be observed, and movements of people shall only be allowed for accessing the necessities and supply of food and health services shall be regulated.
    6. Mass public transportation shall be suspended.
    7. Private establishments providing necessities shall be allowed to operate (i.e. public markets, supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores, drug stores, pharmacies, hospitals and medical clinics, food preparation and delivery services, water refiling stations, banks, money transfer services, energy, water and telecommunications supplies and facilities). These establishments shall ensure the that the management will strictly implement social distancing and skeletal workforce during operations.
    8. Shopping malls shall be closed during the quarantine period.


    Moving Service

    Though the memorandum mentions that movement of cargo would be allowed in spite of the quarantine, our vehicles were not allowed to cross the check points this morning. We are trying to get more clarification on this from relevant sources to understand if the movement of personal household goods is part of the exemption. We will keep you informed as soon as we get more information.

    Implementation

    12:00 midnight of 17 March 2020 until 12:00 midnight of 13 April 2020.

    Santa Fe Analysis

    We would like to reach out to all our Valued customers to inform you that as per the Guidelines on Enhanced Community Quarantine issued by the President of the Philippines, the entire Luzon island has been put under enhanced community quarantine. While we fully support this step by the Government and hope this would serve the cause this has been put in action for. We have already put our BCP plans in action and are ready to support you in the best possible way. However, since this morning, our operations have witnessed some disruptions.
    Santa Fe Relocation is monitoring the situation closely. Santa Fe will provide updated information once available.

    Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

    Ma. Emmariza Ola
    Immigration Manager
    Santa Fe Relocation
    Philippines
    Tel.: +63 917 848 6830
    Email: Emmariza.Ola@santaferelo.com

    Robert Day
    Group Head of Immigration Operations
    Santa Fe Relocation
    D: +44 7990 021125
    Email: Robert.day@santaferelo.com

    Alexandre Aubry
    General Manager
    Santa Fe Relocation
    Philippines
    Tel.: +63 917 852 6106
    Email: Alexandre.Aubry@santaferelo.com

    Cybill M. Jusayan
    Destination Service Manager
    Santa Fe Relocation
    Philippines
    Tel.: +63 917 800 5195
    Email: Cybill.Jusayan@santaferelo.com

    Sudipto Rudra
    Sales Director
    Santa Fe Relocation
    Philippines
    Tel.: +63 917 565 1286
    Email: Sudipto.Rudra@santaferelo.com

    To read more immigration updates, click here.

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