• Melo Acuna

Fast lane may take some time

China – Philippines agree on fast lane establishment

MANILA – The Chinese Embassy in Manila welcomed the most recent agreement between Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi to set up a fast lane to facilitate a two-way personnel exchange.

The agreement was reached at the bilateral meeting in Yunnan Province over the weekend. The fast lane will facilitate, with due safeguards, the movement of essential travel by personnel in crucial industries including business and trade, infrastructure, logistics, production and technical services between the two countries.

According to the Chinese Embassy statement, China has set-up similar fast lanes with countries including Republic of Korea, Germany, Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Singapore and Viet Nam.

With COVID-19, China, the Philippines and other countries closed their international borders to foreign nationals.

However, last September 28, China began to permit foreigners with valid residence permits to work, personal matters, and reunion to enter the country without being required to re-apply for new visas.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the operational details of the fast track lane will still have to be discussed by the implementing agencies, under the guidance of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging and Infectious Diseases.

“We are hoping to get more clarity on the matter in the days to come,” the DFA’s Office of Strategic Communications and Research said in a text message to this writer.

At today’s briefing at Malacañang Palace, Secretary Carlito Galvez, Jr., Chief Implementer of the National Policy Against COVID-19 said his office addresses concerns on a “case-to-case” basis.

“However, I will consult with Foreign Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. because the clearance will come from them (at the DFA),” Secretary Galvez said. (Melo M. Acuña)

Secretary Carlito Galvez, jr., Chief Implementer of the National Policy Against COVID-19. (Screen grab from Malacanang Press Briefing/PTV4/RTVM)

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