DOT prepares for soft reopening of tourism in Baguio City

Marje Pelayo   •   September 17, 2020   •   433

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) is planning to reopen several tourist destinations in Baguio City. 

According to DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, the initial plan is to allow 200 tourists a day under strict health protocols once tourism resumes in Baguio City.

“Marami na nagbukas [establishments] slowly. Awa ng Dios, walang nagka-COVID,” Puyat said during the budget hearing on Thursday (September 17.)

To further prevent coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission, the DOT is strengthening contact-less services in hotels and other tourism establishments through online bookings and transactions.

Also, RT-PCR testing units will be placed in major tourist destinations for added protection.

Secretary Puyat said that under modified general community quarantine, tourist destinations and establishments are allowed to accommodate patrons at 50 percent capacity, but it would still depend on the approval of the local government.

Puyat also said that a big chunk of the DOT’s P8.5 billion proposed budget for 2021 will be allocated to promoting local tourism.

She noted that 4.8 million tourism industry workers have been affected by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gradual reopening of tourist destinations in some parts of the country is a welcome relief to stakeholders of the industry.

Puyat said, about 50 percent of business owners who applied for reopening have already been given authority to operate.

Based on a survey conducted by DOT, about 77 percent of local tourists are willing to travel domestically even in the absence of a vaccine.

Also according to the 2020 Philippine Travel Survey Report, beach hopping, road trips and staycations are among the top activities travelers would like to do once restrictions are lifted. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

Baguio City, nagsagawa ng simulation sa proseso ng COVID-19 vaccination

Robie de Guzman   •   February 15, 2021

BAGUIO CITY – Nagdaos ngayong Lunes ng simulation exercise ang lokal na pamahalaan ng Baguio City para sa proseso ng pagbabakuna kontra novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ito ang bilang paghahanda sa inaasahang pagdating ng unang batch ng COVID-19 vaccines sa bansa at pag-arangkada ng mass vaccination program ng pamahalaan ngayong buwan ng Pebrero.

Sa unang bahagi ng simulation, isinagawa ang vaccine transport procedure mula sa City Health Office sa T. Alonzo patungo sa vaccination area sa gym ng University of Baguio.

Walong minuto ang nai-record na oras ng paghahatid ng bakuna.

Sa ikalawang bahagi ng simulation ay inilatag naman ang pagkakasunud-sunod ng bawat phase ng proseso gaya ng paglalagay ng waiting area, registration, counselling, medical screening, at vaccination area sa itinakdang vaccination site.

Upang mapabilis ang proseso, kailangang dumaan sa online pre-registration ang mga magpapabakuna bago ang mismong araw ng immunization.

Pagkatapos nito ay dadaan sila sa counselling at screening para sa anumang impormasyon o katanungan ukol sa pagpapabakuna. Sa phase na ito rin maaaring hilingin sa mga magpapabakuna ang kanilang health status at iba pang bagay na kailangang dumaan sa beripikasyon.

Ipinakita rin ang mga panuntunan at prosesong dapat sundin ng mga magpapabakuna, bago at pagkatapos nilang maturukan, para na rin sa kanilang kaligtasan.

Tiniyak rin ng lokal na pamahalaan na may ilalagay silang standby medical at healthcare workers, pati na ng ambulansiya, sa post-vaccination area upang agad tumugon sa sinumang mangangailangan ng atensiyong medikal o kaya ay magkakaroon ng reaksyon sa tinanggap na bakuna.

Ayon sa lokal na pamahalaan, mahalaga ang pagsasagawa ng simulation upang ma-assess ang proseso at matugunan ang mga nasalungang isyu sa transportation at vaccination.

Ilan sa mga napansin nilang kailangan pang pagtuunan ng pansin ay ang sitwasyon ng mga persons with disabilities (PWD) na maaaring lumahok sa programa gayundin ang pagsasagawa ng sanitation sa bawat lugar.

Ayon kay Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, magagamit ang assessment ng evaluation team sa ginawang simulation upang mapag-ibayo pa ang kalidad at kahandaan ng Baguio City sa pagpapatupad ng COVID-19 vaccination program. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Marvin Calas)

Baguio City to conduct pooled RT-PCR tests for business establishments

Marje Pelayo   •   February 15, 2021

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – The city government of Baguio City will be conducting pooled polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing for business establishments.

The pooled testing will be held February 16 to 19, 2021 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the following areas:

  • SM Ground Floor Parking Area- February 16 (Tuesday)
  • Porta Vaga- February 17 (Wednesday)
  • Center Mall Function Area- February 18 (Thursday)
  • Abanao Square Roof Deck- February 19 (Friday)

During the duration of the testing, samples collected from a group of five are tested in a single batch using one test kit only at the Molecular Laboratory of the Baguio General Hospital.

Meanwhile, local authorities encouraged business owners to support the initiative and subject their employees to pooled testing.

The said method is backed by scientific research and is more affordable than the usual RT-PCR test. MNP / Rhuss Egano

Boracay tourists charged for forging COVID test results

Marje Pelayo   •   February 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) has filed charges against six Manila-based tourists who were nabbed in January 2021 for falsification of public documents after presenting fake COVID-19 swab test results in an attempt to enter Boracay Island.

Marc Judicpa of the DOT Region VI-Boracay Field and Compliance Monitoring Office (BFCMO) filed the complaint against the errant tourists.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo said such legal action should serve as warning to others and stressed that the agency will continue to be vigilant to ensure that these collaborative interventions will deter entry of such delinquent and unwanted visitors in the enforcement of existing health and safety protocols.

The DOT welcomes the directive from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to the Philippine National Police (PNP) to execute the arrest and prosecution of individuals who are forging their RT-PCR tests. 

The DILG reiterated that it is a crime punishable under Republic Act (RA) No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act which provides for penalties of P20,000 but not more than P50,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.   

Furthermore, the DOT draws emphasis to the importance of tightening the registration procedure for tourists to curb the spread of COVID-19 and other variants.

These involve, among others, validation of the submitted COVID test results and hotel bookings before a QR code is given for validation at ports of entry.   

“In anticipation of the further relaxation of regulations governing inter- and intra-regional movements, the LGUs should be prepared to address an increase in the number of applications and visits.  Enforcement is key and we must all do our share in keeping Boracay safe,” the Secretary added.   

Boracay received 11,898 visitors in January 2021 alone, with an average 300 to 400 tourists a day.   

Meanwhile, the DOT Region VI-BFCMO will continue to work closely with the local government units (LGUs) of Aklan and Malay to ensure enforcement of minimum health and safety protocols at the DOT-accredited accommodation establishments (AEs) and other tourism enterprises (TEs) and in the island, in general.

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