IATF still discussing ways to bring Filipinos home from India — Nograles
MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) is still discussing ways to bring home Filipinos in India amid the imposed travel ban as COVID-19 continues to ravage the South Asian country, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said Monday.
In a Senate hearing, Senator Imee Marcos, citing Ambassador Ramon Bagatsing Jr., said that Filipinos in India are required to secure clearance for them to be able to return home.
Marcos then asked what are the possible options for the Filipinos amid the travel ban in India which was imposed from April 29 to May 14.
“This is an ongoing discussion pa po sa IATF because as a first response, or sort of like a first defense against the Indian variant, the IATF has temporarily put on hold and imposed a travel ban from India, and all the neighboring countries in that subcontinent,” Nograles said.
“So that’s the latest. But again, as I said, we are currently studying the situation and we’ll take it on meeting to meeting basis muna,” he added.
Nograles said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is in constant coordination with the Filipino officials in India regarding the situation there.
According to Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, there are no Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Polo) in India, adding that there are only 1,003 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) there.
The Philippines earlier barred the entry of travelers from India starting April 29 to May 14 amid the surge of COVID-19 cases there. Those covered by the travel ban are those coming from India and those with travel history to India within the last 14 days.
The Philippines later expanded its travel restrictions to Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh.
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