Resumption of visa-on-arrival scheme urged for Chinese nationals

THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) declared its support for the resumption of a visa-on-arrival scheme for Chinese nationals, citing the potential for encouraging investment in the Philippines.

ARTA Director General Ernesto V. Perez told reporters on the sidelines of a forum organized by the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Makati City on Thursday that it floated the proposal after the agency fielded a complaint from the Chinese Embassy.  

“If we want to encourage investment, we should make it easier for (investors) to come in,” Mr. Perez said.

“We recently received a complaint from the Chinese Embassy that before you can come here … you have to apply with our consular offices. It takes three or four months to get even an appointment,” Mr. Perez said.

He said ARTA has sought a meeting with the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Bureau of Immigration regarding the matter.

“How can investors come in when we make it difficult for them to come in and to even acquire a visa? That is one thing that ARTA is also looking into,” Mr. Perez said.

The visa-on-arrival program began in 2017 as authorized by then-Justice Secretary Vitaliano N. Aguirre. A circular he issued in consultation with the Tourism department, was designed to promote tourism. 

The government suspended visa-on-arrival privileges in January 2020 following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave