Quarantine rule stuns travelers from Japan


PANDEMONIUM marked the arrival area at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 Monday night as OFWs from Green List countries were surprised with sudden quarantine requirements in Manila. This, as authorities carried out measures to reduce risks of the Covid-19 Omicron variant entering the country.

“Passengers were really angry and they vented their anger at the Philippine Coast Guard, at PAL staff,” Enrique Gonzaga told BusinessMirror.

Enrique is a Filipino worker in Tokyo, Japan—one of the countries listed last month as “green.” Filipino travellers flying in from Green List countries were no longer required to undergo testing upon arrival and quarantine.

“We were told there is no more green list. We are all under the yellow list because of the new variant Omicron,” he said.

Gonzaga, who is suffering from terminal cancer, said PAL had required that he be accompanied by a companion throughout his flight.

Aside from the ticket that he had to book for himself—already expensive as it is, given the holiday season—he had to buy another set of two-way tickets for his companion for the Tokyo-Manila-Bacolod leg and back.

So it was indeed very frustrating for Gonzaga to be told that the two sets of tickets that he bought for Manila-Bacolod leg will have to be rebooked.

The chaos and confusion for most of the passengers at the airport on Monday night, he said, began when they were told that they need to be quarantined.

OFWs like him, he said, were taken care of by the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration. As for his companion, also a Filipino and a permanent resident in Tokyo, he had to book a quarantine facility—another unexpected cost

“There’s a mad scrambling to book hotels. Nabutas nang doble ang bulsa ko dito [My pockets got burned twice],” he lamented.

Since Gonzaga is going to miss his domestic flight to Bacolod City, he hopes that PAL could rebook him and his companion. “I was told there might be sweeper flights. Sana naman [I would hope so],” he added.

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