Despite the strict travel restrictions imposed and the significantly reduced number of air travels to and from the country, a huge number of arrivals, primarily constituting OFWs coming home for the holidays and balikbayans who want to spend the Christmas season in the country.
In anticipation of the holiday rush, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is preparing a list of reminders that returning overseas Filipinos must follow before and upon embarking on Philippine soil.
The following are the list of 9 things that overseas Filipinos and balikbayans must do prior to and at the time of arrival
1. Register to E-CIF Prior to Departure From Point of Origin
Passengers must fill-out the E-CIF (Electronic Case Investigation Form). This step is necessary when undergoing health protocols, ahead of the flight to the Philippines.
The measure, according to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC), seeks to minimize the spread of COVID-19 into the Philippines through ports of entry by ensuring that anyone arriving in the country will be tested for COVID-19.
PRC suggests that anyone who intends to enter the country must accomplish the E-CIF at least 3 (three) days prior to arrival. Failure to fill out the said form disqualifies one from passing through the immigration.
Non-OFWs can get the E-CIF provided by Philippine Airlines (PAL).
2. Thermal Scan and Declaration Forms Upon Arrival
Philippine Airlines (PAL) said that arriving passengers shall undergo a temperature check and will also be asked to submit their Health Declaration Form upon deplaning or before proceeding to the designated waiting area.
3. Segregation of Passengers and Briefing
Once passengers enter the holding area, they will be segregated and briefed about the next steps they have to follow. The segregation will be according to Land-based, sea-based, and non-OFWs.
4. Passenger Information Verification and Swab Testing
Deplaned and segregated Land-based, Sea-based, and Non-OFWs will need to verify their complete information. The information verification intends to make sure that contact information supplied, such as contact number and email address are correct for accurate sending of the test result. After which, they will go through the RT-PCR (Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test.
5. Bureau of Immigration Counter
Passengers will have to pass through the Bureau of Immigration (BI) counter to submit their Arrival Cards before they will be allowed to get their baggage.
6. Help Desks
All arriving passengers are also required to go to the stationed help desks to receive additional information regarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine procedure that they have to comply with. They will be assigned with their own quarantine facility.
Help desks of the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are tasked to assist land-based passengers while the Maritime Industry Authority will assist sea-based passengers. The Department of Tourism will handle non-OFWs.
7. Transport to Quarantine Facility
After all procedures at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are accomplished, OFW and non-OFW passengers will subsequently be transported to their assigned quarantine facilities via chartered transport facilities.
Only OWWA buses, taxis with accreditation from the Manila International Airport Authority, and authorized hotel shuttles can fetch passengers from the airport and drop them at quarantine areas.
8. Release of RT-PCR Test Results and Quarantine Certificate
Passengers will receive their RT-PCR test results within 24 to 48 hours. The quarantine certificate, meanwhile, will be given to passengers who have completed the 14-day quarantine.
9. Travel to Final Destination
Cleared OFWs and non-OFWs can finally go home or reach their destination through OWWA chartered flights and buses. The free transportation service is part of the government’s Balik Probinsya Program.