DOJ postpones implementing new outbound travel rules for Filipinos
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ), which heads the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (Iacat), has temporarily suspended implementing the revised rules for Filipinos traveling abroad.
The new guidelines, which were supposed to take effect on September 3, drew mixed reactions from the public, with lawmakers even calling for thorough stakeholder consultations before enforcement.
“In light of recent concerns raised by our esteemed senators and to address the importance of transparency and public consultation, the Secretary of Justice, Jesus Crispin Remulla, has deemed it necessary to thoroughly clarify the issues surrounding the revised guidelines to both the senators and the public,” the DOJ said in a statement Thursday.
The DOJ also said it understands the vital role of legislators in safeguarding the citizen’s rights and welfare.
“It is our duty to address their concerns and provide with the necessary information and clarifications,” it added, assuring the public that “the revised guidelines aim to strike a balance between national security and the facilitation of smooth and efficient travel.”
“We take this opportunity to remind everyone that the temporary suspension of the implementation of the revised guidelines on departure formalities does not affect existing laws and regulations governing travel and immigration procedures. All existing rules and guidelines remain in place until further notice,” the DOJ continued.
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilgay described the revised travel rules as “an unconstitutional sleight of hand: from right to travel to permission to leave.”
Meanwhile, the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry considered the new guidelines too burdensome for Filipino travelers.