Bureau of Immigration (BI) Commissioner Jaime Morente clarified that foreign seafarers with valid visas are allowed to enter the country, which is needed in facilitating ship crew changes critical for international trade.
Morente said that following the latest Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) issued on Monday, foreign seafarers are allowed to enter via airports and seaports.
The said seafarers, said Morente, would be undergoing crew change at the country’s green lanes.
BI Bay Service Section Chief Alnazib Decampong said the green lanes were launched by the government in a bid to promote the Philippines as a hub for crew change for international maritime vessels and facilitate the movement of sailors in the region during the pandemic.
Crew change hubs are located in Manila, Bataan, Batangas, Subic, Cebu, and Davao.
“The entry of foreign seafarers that will undergo crew change is essential in keeping the maritime industry afloat,” said Decampong. “They are much-needed manpower especially in cargo vessels that transport goods in and out of the country,” he added.
Currently, only Filipinos, their parents, spouse and children who are traveling with them are allowed to enter the country, but must possess a valid and existing visa a the time of entry.
Also allowed to enter are diplomats and members of international organizations, and their dependents with a valid 9(e) visa or 47(a)2 visa.
Aliens arriving for emergency and humanitarian cases may also be allowed to enter, as well as foreign nationals involved in medical repatriation duly endorsed by the Department of Foreign Affairs. SOVEREIGNPH