Entry of tourists to popular destinations depends on concerned LGUs — DOT

Marje Pelayo   •   September 15, 2021   •   65

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said with the current shift of Metro Manila to Alert Level 4, certain changes in tourism activities will be implemented.

This includes allowing tourists to major destinations in Metro Manila in a limited capacity.

Puyat said the Rizal Park and the Walled City Intramuros in Manila are both opening to tourists effective September 16.

As for other destinations outside of the capital, Puyat said tourists should check on the concerned local government units (LGUs) if they are already allowing leisure travel in their areas.

Puyat stressed it is still the LGU who will decide on whether or not they will open tourism in their respective areas, especially to non-residents.

Under Alert Level 4, residents of the National Capital Region (NCR) will be allowed to exit the region to go to the provinces.

However, they have the obligation to check with their province of destination as NCR residents are allowed only in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and general community quarantine (GCQ).

“Kasi marami rin tayong tourist destination na kahit mababa ang kaso nila ayaw pa rin nilang tumanggap ng mga bisita, mga turista tulad ng Baguio. Sarado siya up to September 19. So kahit pwede na ang interzonal, intrazonal, hindi pa pwede [sa Baguio],” the DOT chief said.

Secretary Puyat said that though the tourism industry is gradually reopening, the public should still strictly observe minimum health and safety protocols against COVID-19.

Puyat added that they are giving discounted RT-PCR tests for tourists at P750 which can be taken at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC).

“Kunyare ikaw ay isang turista, gusto mong pumunta sa isang tourist destination, kailangan mo lang ipakita na nakabook ka sa isang DOT accredited hotel. Number 2 (ay) iyong return ticket,” she said.

According to Puyat, about 99% of hotel workers in the tourism sector in Metro Manila are already vaccinated and 94% among restaurant workers. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

MRT-3 reopens to commuters aged 18 to 65 starting Sept.16

Marje Pelayo   •   September 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Starting Thursday (September 16), commuters aged 18 to 65 are allowed to board MRT-3 trains during the implementation of Alert Level 4 in the National Capital Region (NCR).

However, commuters aged 17 below and those with health risks are still not allowed on MRT-3 trains pursuant to the guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF).

MRT-3 trains will only accept passengers at 30% capacity, equivalent to 124 persons per train car or 372 persons per train set.

The MRT-3 management strictly reminds passengers to observe the “7 Commandments” against COVID-19 as recommended by health experts:

1) Always wear a face mask and face shield
2) Observe the ‘no talking’ and ‘no answering of phone’ policies
3) No eating inside train
4) Maintain proper ventilation
5) Conduct regular disinfection
6) Persons with symptoms of COVID-19 are barred inside stations
7) Always maintain proper physical distance

Train operations from North Avenue station begin at 4:37 AM while the first car from Taft Avenue Station departs at 5:17 AM.

The last car from North Avenue station departs at 9:30 PM while the last car from Taft Avenue station departs at 10:10 PM.

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Indoor dining, personal care services for fully vaccinated individuals, not discriminatory — DTI

Marje Pelayo   •   September 15, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Metro Manila will be placed under Alert Level 4 starting Thursday (September 16).

Under the said classification, indoor dining  in restaurants and personal care services will be allowed for fully vaccinated individuals at 10% limited capacity.

Reacting to critics, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said such measure does not intend to discriminate.

“Bawal ito in the first place, itong tatlong sektor na ito: dine-in, personal care, pati iyong pagpunta sa simbahan. Bawal po pero binigyan ng kaunting puwang doon sa vaccinated lang. So, it’s more of an incentive, hindi po ito discrimination,” Lopez explained.

“But all other areas na puwede po, open naman siya. Hindi po natin binabawalan ang unvaccinated. Iyon po iyong kakaiba nito kaya hindi po siya discriminatory,” he added.

Under Alert Level 4, thirty percent (30%) capacity is allowed for al fresco dining or outdoor dining spaces and eateries, personal care establishments like barber shops, spas, beauty salons as well as in-person religious gatherings.

Fully vaccinated individuals should present their vaccination cards for indoor services in the said industries.

“Iyong validation is really showing the LGU vaccination card. So, iyon ang paraan natin ngayon. Of course, may ongoing effort ngayon na mayroon na tayong isang uniform vaccine certificate sa VaxCertPH pero mag-i-input pa doon ang ating mga kababayan,” the Trade Secretary noted.

“But for now, they can use the LGU-issued vaccination card,” he added.

Due to policy shift, Lopez is confident that hundreds of workers will now be allowed to resume their jobs in Metro Manila. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DOT clarifies travel guidelines in areas under Alert Level 4

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 14, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DOT) has clarified that residents in the National Capital Region who are below 18 and over 65 years old shall not be permitted to leave their residences for leisure travel following Alert Level 4 guidelines.

Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat, in a statement, said that travelers will also be subject to reasonable restrictions based on age and comorbidities as may be determined by their respective local government unit (LGU) and the reasonable regulations of their destination’s LGU.

The tourism chief also reminded all tourism-related establishments in the NCR, such as Staycations, indoor visitor or tourist attractions, and indoor venues for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) are prohibited under Alert level 4 as per IATF ruling.

The National Capital Region (NCR) will be placed under the Alert Level 4 classification from September 16-30.

Meanwhile, Puyat noted that the high inoculation rate among tourism workers from hotels will make dining in their restaurants safer.

“The good news is that 99 percent of tourism workers employed in hotels across Metro Manila have been vaccinated. All in all, tourism workers in NCR, including those in DOT-accredited restaurants recorded a 94 percent vaccination rate. This is an added assurance, not only to the safety of our guests but our tourism workers as well,” said Puyat.

The official added that under the current guidelines, outdoor or alfresco dine-in will be allowed at 30 percent venue capacity while indoor dine-in will be allowed at 10 percent only for fully-vaccinated individuals.

“Allowing fully vaccinated guests to dine in restaurants located inside DOT-accredited hotels and restaurants will slowly help restart the economy while making sure all our tourism workers and guests are safe,” she said. -AAC

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