In his presidential address on Thursday, March 12, President Rodrigo Duterte declared "community quarantine" over the National Capital Region, banning "land, domestic air, and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila." This travel suspension will be in effect on March 15, Sunday, until April 14, 2020.
That said, people can't help but pose the question: So what about "international" travel? Are Metro Manila residents still allowed to travel to other countries?
Preview got in touch with the Bureau of Immigration via their official Facebook page, and they confirmed that, as of writing, no cancellation of international travel has been officially issued. "As of today, no advise for any cancellation of international flights. However, be reminded that passenger[s] should be at the airport on [their] scheduled departure time," their response says.
This statement is also echoed on Karen Davila's Twitter page. "Government is also imposing a suspension of land, domestic air & sea travel to & from Metro Manila from March 15, 2020 00:00H until April 14, 2020 23:59H. But [government] says international travel in & out still OK. To our local airlines, hang in there. Please dont lay off workers," the journalist writes.
On their Facebook page, Philippine Airlines (PAL) has posted an advisory, addressing their passengers affected by the newly-announced travel suspension.
“Our international flights and domestic flights on routes to and from Cebu, Clark and Davao (other than Manila) shall continue to operate within the period March 15 to April 14,” they wrote.
“This is a developing situation. We shall provide further updates. As of this time, we are awaiting the official guidelines in relation to the implementation of this temporary suspension of domestic flights to/from Manila.”
Cebu Pacific also updated their social media pages, announcing that they are awaiting an official advisory from government regulators, and that they will be keeping anxious passengers posted as soon as possible. As of writing, the airline has not yet released an official statement regarding the cancellation of flights to and from Metro Manila.
Meanwhile, Air Asia has cancelled all of their domestic flights to and from Manila in alignment with the government's directive. You can find the announcement on their website.
In a nutshell, as of March 13, there is no official announcement from the government suspending international travel to and from Metro Manila despite the community quarantine directive. But ultimately, the public must keep posted on official government statements regarding the mobility restrictions in response to this pandemic.
Needless to say, Filipinos are currently barred from flying to countries listed under the travel ban, which, following Thursday's presidential address, has expanded to include all countries with local diagnoses of COVID-19. As of writing, there are 52 recorded cases of the virus in the Philippines.