PBBM calls for enhanced tourism education, streamlined student visa procedures



CEBU CITY – President Bongbong Marcos (PBBM) has issued a directive to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to simplify and standardize the application process for international students seeking to pursue studies in the Philippines to strengthen the education tourism sector in the country.

This directive is in alignment with the recommendations by the Private Sector Advisory Council for Tourism (PSAC – Tourism) during its collaboration meeting at Malacañang Palace on August 24, cognizant of the evolving landscape of work and education globally.

“This concerted effort will help reinforce the Philippines’ position as a leading educational tourism hub. It involves a multifaceted approach, including partnerships, cultural promotion, and improved education quality, to attract and retain international students, scholars, and travelers seeking enriching experiences in the country,” PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz said.

Ultimately, the government aims to establish the Philippines as the preferred choice for academic excellence and a unique cultural experience.  Studying in the Philippines offers international students the opportunity to experience a rich and diverse culture. Filipino culture is influenced by various indigenous, Asian, and Western traditions.

Prior to the pandemic, the country hosted approximately 35,000 foreign students, primarily enrolled in medical-related courses. The Philippines attracted students due to the affordability of tuition and living costs, as well as the fact that English is the primary language of instruction and commerce.

However, challenges such as complex application requirements, delays in student visa processing, and a shortage of accredited clinics for medical certificates have posed hurdles for international students.

In response to these issues, President Marcos Jr. has called for benchmarking the application process against other Southeast Asian nations, with an emphasis on implementing online application options akin to those in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

The President has also advocated for the accreditation of additional clinics to expedite medical clearance and certificate requirements, effectively addressing the key obstacles faced by international students.

With an estimated 10 million students projected to study abroad by 2030, with an expenditure estimated at $433 billion USD, the Philippines is poised to become a prominent player in the global education sector.

CEOs from PSAC-Tourism, including Sabin Aboitiz, Lance Gokongwei, Roberto Claudio Sr., Josephine Gotianun-Yap, Rene Limcaoco, and Lucio Tan III, played a pivotal role in these discussions, providing unwavering support for these strategic initiatives.

PBBM’s vision and commitment to welcoming international students reaffirm the country’s dedication to innovation, inclusivity, and progress.