Immigration eases rules on aliens’ visa

posted March 28, 2020 at 01:50 am
by  Vito Barcelo and Macon Ramos-Araneta, Maricel V. Cruz
The Bureau of Immigration said Friday it will temporarily allow foreign nationals with approved visas but who are still awaiting the release of their Alien Certificates of Registration Identity Cards to leave the country.

COPING WITH COVID. The global onslaught of the dreaded coronavirus disease has sent people taking preemptive strikes such as these airline passengers arming themselves with protective suits at the NAIA Terminal. Norman Cruz
The agency says the move is in light of the Enhanced Community Quarantine and Stringent Social Distancing Measures directive from Malacañang.

Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente says the regular procedures require departing aliens with approved visas but pending ACR I-Cards to secure a waiver at the agency’s main office.

‘Hospital ships’

Senator Francis Tolentino is urging the Transport department to use vacant passenger ships as “hospitals ships” because of the rising COVID-19 infections, which he says has resulted in overcrowding in the hospitals.

He says the agency could initially convert three ships as temporary medical facilities. One could be provided for Luzon and the other two for the Visayas and Mindanao.

Appeal to banks

Senator Bong Go on Friday appealed to government and privately owned banks, quasi-banks, credit and lending facilities not to increase interest rates on consumer and commercial loans in the areas covered by the enhanced community quarantine.

He also called on them to come up with flexible and convenient restructuring of existing loans to enable their clients to pay their arrears later.

“In this time of national crisis, everybody must sacrifice for the greater good. Let us not burden our people.” he said.

Appeal on transactions

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has urged the government to relax the requirements on COVID-19-related transactions to speed up the delivery of services to the public.

The government, he says, should tap local government units to help make it work, saying there are complex bureaucratic procedures that hamper the delivery of aid to the communities that need it most.

“We in the government should move the delivery of services to our countrymen faster than the virus,” Gatchalian said.

Appeal on fees

Two lawmakers on Friday called on the government to waive storage and detention fees for all containers arriving in the ports while the Enhanced Community Quarantine is in effect. 

Reps. Ronnie Ong and Eric Yap said the quarantine had caused much damage to the various industries that depend so much on importation. 

“The government also has to protect the import sector during these crucial times. Much of the things that we are using to survive this crisis all come from imports,” said Ong, vice chairman of the House committee on rural development.

Masks and ventilators

Three textile companies intend to convert their facilities to produce surgical masks, while another group is developing a ventilator that will help COVID-19 patients breathe, says Food and Drug Administration Director General Eric Domingo.

He says some liquor and bio-fuel companies had earlier volunteered to make disinfectant alcohol, which is now in short supply along with protective masks.

READ: Pinoys urged to check US visa site

READ: DFA suspends visa issuances to Chinese

Topics: Jaime Morente , Bureau of Immigration , Alien Certificates of Registration Identity Cards , Ronnie Ong , Eric Yap , Eric Domingo
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