POSTSCRIPT / June 8, 2021 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Flying back home? Here are guidelines

WE’VE been getting queries from Filipinos abroad, and a few foreigners, planning to fly to the Philippines with the reported improvement of the COVID-19 situation in many places, including Metro Manila.

Passengers on international flights arriving in Manila, Cebu, and Clark are advised to pre-book their hotels for faster processing upon arrival. We got from Philippine Airlines the guidelines, which we rewrote a bit to fit our space. Also see https://tinyurl.com/48bp27ta

These rules and procedures (listed below), which some tired travelers may find too detailed for comfort, must be followed in all airport facilities and onboard the aircraft:

* Wear face masks and face shields.

* Register to Case Investigation Forms depending on the traveler’s type and port of entry (Manila, Cebu, or Clark).

* Use the Traze Mobile Application to generate and scan a QR code when entering, boarding from, and upon arriving in all Philippine airports.

* Undergo temperature checks and observe physical distancing and minimum contact in all places within the airport, and during check-in, boarding, inflight, disembarkation and retrieving check-in baggage.

Airline and airport managements ensure regular sanitation and disinfection of all aircraft and airport facilities, including lavatories, frequently touched surfaces, wheelchairs, trolleys, countertops, etc. First aid stocks are available onboard. PAL assures that all its aircraft use state-of-the-art airflow systems to refresh the air onboard, and powerful HEPA filters to protect against viruses with 99.99-percent efficacy.

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HERE are the guidelines for travelers arriving in Manila:

An arriving passenger shall undergo 14 days of quarantine, 10 of which shall be at a hotel or facility accredited by the tourism and health agencies. He can check out only on the 10th day and complete the remaining four at home under the monitoring of the Local Government Unit. The passenger shall undergo an RT-PCR test on the seventh day of his quarantine stay. Day-1 is his arrival date.

One big exemption: A fully-vaccinated passenger is exempted from RT-PCR test requirements, and will undergo only a seven-day quarantine at an accredited quarantine hotel or facility instead of 14 days. But this applies only to travelers who were fully vaccinated in the Philippines by accredited vaccine administrators and LGUs.

Travelers vaccinated outside the Philippines are not eligible for the exemption and shorter quarantine period. (One is considered fully vaccinated at least 14 days after receiving his second dose in a 2-dose series, or 14 days after receiving a single-dose vaccine.)

As early as three days before departure, the passenger must register and accomplish the PAL Electronic Case Investigation Form and save the confirmation e-mail and QR code at https://bit.ly/MNLPALeCIF.

A passenger may pre-pay for his RT-PCR test. A payment portal link is available after successfully registering to PAL’s e-CIF. If his travel plans change, he may ask for a refund of his test pre-payment. (The test will be conducted by the DoH-accredited Detoxicare Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory.)

However, non-OFWs and non-Filipinos on Middle East flights who arrive at NAIA Terminal 1 will have their RT-PCR tests administered by DoH-accredited Philippine Airport Diagnostics Laboratory (PADLab) and must register on PADLab’s portal as early as three days before departure at https://www.padlab.ph/DLS/eCIFv8. OFWs should register at www.balikpinas.ph.

“Non-OFWs” refers to returning overseas Filipinos (non-OFW students, Balikbayans, tourists, etc.), spouses and children of Filipinos, diplomats, foreign officials accredited by the Philippines, and eligible non-Filipino/foreign citizens.

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BEFORE departure, the passenger must download, print, and accomplish the Affidavit of Undertaking for submission upon arrival in the Philippines. It should include his address and contact details in the Philippines.

He must ensure he has a confirmed booking at a hotel accredited by Tourism and Health Agencies for 10 days to cover the schedule of his test and the release of results. Passengers arriving before hotel standard check-in times are encouraged to book an additional night to ensure room availability. For faster RT-PCR testing, book a hotel within Metro Manila.

Only one person is allowed per room, except for families with children below 18 years old (if the traveling family has two or more adult members, only one adult may stay with the minor children); a Person With Disability (PWD) and his/her companion (only one adult companion allowed); and travelers with medical emergencies.

Upon check-in, the passenger must sign the Declaration and Waiver Form presented by the check-in agent, indicating that he is healthy and fit to travel.

The passenger can accomplish during the flight the Health Declaration Form, Bureau of Customs Form, and Arrival Card.

An arriving passenger must listen to the briefing by the Coast Guard, undergo a temperature check, submit the Health Declaration Form, and proceed to a waiting area to fill out the Affidavit of Undertaking.

At the hotel desk, coordinators will verify his booking or assist with reservations, and sign or stamp his Affidavit of Undertaking. Airport-hotel transfers can be arranged at these desks or at a separate desk for coupon taxis and metered taxis. A sticker will be given indicating the passenger’s choice of transportation to his quarantine hotel.

He proceeds to the verification booth, presents his passport and the QR code sent to him after accomplishing the e-CIF.

The passenger pays for his RT-PCR test costing P4,000. Arrivals in NAIA Terminal 2 may pay in cash (pesos or US dollars), or with a card, GCash, PayPal™, WeChat Pay, or Alipay. Arrivals at NAIA Terminal 1 may pay in cash or with a card. There are ATMs in the terminal.

The traveler proceeds to his booked hotel and begins his quarantine period after clearing with Immigration, claiming baggage and clearing Customs, and exiting the terminal.

He will pay for his accommodation, food and incidentals during the quarantine. Government regulations do not allow delivery of outside food to the traveler’s hotel.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of June 8, 2021)

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