Boracay Island to open on Oct. 1 for residents from GCQ areas

Marje Pelayo   •   September 24, 2020   •   257

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force has approved the proposed reopening of Boracay Island starting October 1 following recommendation from the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Such a move is part of the government’s recovery efforts from the impact of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The resumption of tourism in Boracay would mean residents from areas under general community quarantine, including Metro Manila will soon be allowed to enter the island.

However, the government reminds the public of the strict health and safety protocols that go with the reopening of the famous tourist destination.

One of which is mandatory swab testing for all visitors before they can be allowed entry.

“Isa sa mga requirements na pinag-uusapan iyong RT-PCR (test) bago pumasok doon sa isla (One requirement under discussion is the RT-PCR test before entering the island),” noted Tourism Undersecretary Benito Benzon.

“Mayroon pa ring pagmomonitor ng movements ng mga turista pagpasok sa Boracay, so kailangan may pre-arranged reservations ,may QR code iyan para namomonitor lahat ng pumapasok (Monitoring the movement of tourists inside Boracay remains in place so they need to have pre-arranged reservations, QR code, to monitor every person that comes in),” he added.

For his part, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año assured that Boracay is now prepared to accept visitors. 

If in any case, a COVID-19 positive slips into the island, the agency has prepared enough facilities for isolation.

“Doon mismo sa Boracay ay mayroon tayong COVID isolation facility doon. Kung mayroong mag-positive or suspected, dadalhin agad sa mainland [Aklan] (There is a COVID isolation facility inside Boracay. In case someone tests positive or suspected of having the disease, the patient will be transferred immediately to the mainland [Aklan]),” the official said.

Well in place ang nakita namin preparations nila (Their preparations are well in place),” he assured. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

Ilang bahagi ng Intramuros sa Maynila, binuksan na sa publiko

Robie de Guzman   •   February 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bukas na sa publiko simula ngayong araw ang ilang bahagi ng Intramuros sa Maynila, ayon sa Department of Tourism (DOT).

Sinabi ni Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, handa na ang makasaysayang walled city sa pagtanggap ng mga turista lalo’t marami itong malalawak na lugar na ligtas puntahan ng mga tao sa gitna ng pandemya.

Ang pagbubukas ng Intramuros ay kasunod na rin ng panawagan para sa mas marami pang tourism activities at destinations upang makatulong sa pagbangon ng ekonomiya ng bansa.

“Now, with the easing of quarantine restrictions while the recommended health and safety protocols remain in place, Intramuros is ready and prepared to welcome back the public to the city’s many plazas, open spaces, heritage sites and museums,” ang wika ni Puyat.

Ang mga sumusunod na tourist sites sa Intramuros ang maaaring pasyalan ng publiko:

Ang Fort Santiago na bukas mula Lunes hanggang Linggo, ang Casa de Manila mula Martes hanggang Linggo, at ang Baluarte de San Diego na maaari namang bisitahin mula Sabado hanggang Linggo.

Sarado pa sa ngayon ang iba pang tourist sites sa Intramuros.

Paalala ng DOT na ang mga bisitang may edad 15 hanggang 65 lamang ang papayagang pumasok sa mga nabanggit na lugar.

May entrance fee na P75 para sa mga adult habang P50 naman sa mga estudyante at persons with disabilities. Maaari itong bayaran ng cash o kaya ay sa pamamagitan ng online platform.

Limitado lamang ang maaaring pumasok sa loob ng mga gusali alinsunod sa health and safety protocols kontra COVID-19.

Kukunin rin ang body temperature at sasailalim sa symptoms screening ang mga turista. Hindi maairing pumasok ang mga walang suot na face mask.

Kailangan ring i-download ng mga bisita ang staysafe.ph app at sagutan ang health declaration form rito para sa contact tracing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

IATF allows arcades, cinemas and other businesses to reopen in GCQ areas – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   February 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The government’s task force for COVID-19 response has allowed the reopening of more businesses in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has approved the reopening and further expansion of the following businesses/industries:

  • Driving schools
  • Traditional cinemas
  • Video and interactive-game arcades
  • Libraries 
  • Archives
  • Museums and cultural centers

The conduct of meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions, and limited social events at credited establishments of the Department of Tourism have also been allowed.

The IATF approved the new policy during its 99th meeting on Thursday, February 11, as authorities sought to boost the country’s economy battered by the pandemic.

“Also approved is the reopening of limited tourist attractions, such as parks, theme parks, natural sites and historical landmarks,” Roque said.

He stressed that the reopening and further expansion of businesses/industries “shall be subject to the issuance of the implementing guidelines which will provide for the operational capacity, and oversight of the appropriate regulatory agency and the concerned local government units where these businesses/industries are located.”

“These businesses/industries shall comply with the strict observance of minimum public health standards set by the Department of Health,” Roque added.

Metro Manila is under GCQ for the month of February, as well as the Cordillera Administrative Region, Batangas, Tacloban City, Davao City, Davao del Norte, Lanao del Sur, and Iligan City.

The rest of the country is under modified GCQ, the loosest quarantine restriction level.

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