DOT eyes adoption of COVID-19 digital travel pass for international travelers

Marje Pelayo   •   April 8, 2021   •   218

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) mulls the adoption of a COVID-19 travel pass as it prepares for the safe resumption of international trips.

Specifically, the travel pass would be a requirement for passengers visiting the Philippines.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat hinted at this possibility during a meeting with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and local tourism industry leaders.

Puyat said the Department wishes to adopt the measures undertaken by other countries that have relaxed their borders amid the COVID-19 situation.

She added that the IATA’s travel pass offers a standardized solution that will be helpful in the validation and authentication of each passenger’s COVID-19 travel requirements.

On Monday (April 5), Singapore announced it will start using the IATA travel pass as a health document for inbound international passengers.

The city-state opts to start using the app in May while some 20 other countries are now using the Travel Pass technology solutions on a trial basis.

First in Philippines: PAL joins global trial run of IATA Travel Pass app

Marje Pelayo   •   April 22, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) is joining the global trial run of the digital travel pass developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

The IATA Travel Pass application aims to help international passengers digitally manage their health documents and coronavirus diseases 2019 (COVID-19) negative test results in compliance with health protocols and for a safer and more convenient travel experience.

PAL will conduct a trial run of the new on its flights from Manila to Los Angeles and Singapore on selected dates from May to June 2021, the airline firm said in a statement.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier hinted at this possibility saying the Department wishes to adopt the measure which has been undertaken by other countries that already have relaxed their borders.

She added that the IATA travel pass offers a standard that will be helpful in the validation and authentication of each passenger’s COVID-19 travel requirements.

DOT welcomes IATF’s decision to approve construction of walk-in, drive-through vaccination site

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has welcomed the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) to approve the construction of walk-in and drive-through vaccination site at the Nayong Pilipino in Parañaque City.

The DOT said the IATF has mandated the National Task Force against COVID-19 (NTF) to enter into an agreement with the Nayong Filipino Foundation (NPF) for this purpose.

“The National Task Force against COVID-19, which was duly authorized by the IATF, shall enter into an agreement with the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, whose board had already given its preliminary approval of the project, to ensure its immediate execution,” the department said in a statement.

The facility, according to the tourism department, will be a public-private partnership, is expected to vaccinate at least 12,000 people a day. AAC

Over 67,000 displaced tourism workers in NCR Plus receive P5,000 cash aid

Marje Pelayo   •   April 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — A total of 67,347 tourism workers displaced by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus area will receive P5,000 cash assistance from the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

In a statement released by the DOT, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III agreed to provide cash assistance to the said sector workers in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.

Of the said number, 6,817 beneficiaries are in Bulacan, 8,422 in Cavite, 14,161 in Laguna, 10,582 in Rizal, and 27,365 in the NCR.

The total disbursements amount to over P336.7 million as of April 6.

In today’s online awarding of certificates, around P41.2 million pesos were given to 8,251 recognized beneficiaries of the DOT-DOLE cash assistance program, broken down as follow:

NCR – 2,199
Bulacan – 901
Cavite – 924
Laguna – 2,490
Rizal – 1,737

“We are hopeful that this financial assistance will provide some relief to our most affected stakeholders and tourism workers during these difficult times. While it may help in the short term, we believe that the best way to help stakeholders, in the long run, is to develop a tourism industry that is stronger, more resilient, and more adaptable to change,” Puyat said in her opening remarks.

DOLE Secretary Bello added that the labor department will continuously provide assistance to the tourism workers despite the increasing odds brought by the pandemic.

“Rest assured that DOLE will always give its full support to our workers in need. In the coming months, as we start to put our economy on its track, we hope that our tourism stakeholders will get back on their feet, stronger than before,” he said.

Issued in February, the DOT-DOLE Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 2021-001 (Amended Implementing Guidelines on Providing Financial Assistance and Cash-For-Work Program for Displaced Workers in the Tourism Sector) expanded its coverage of beneficiaries including Local Government-Licensed Tourism Support Service (TSS) enterprises, providers and associations of providers.

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