Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019   •   1323

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Top tourist destination El Nido in Palawan will not be closed to tourists despite decision to extend rehabilitation works in the island.

The rehabilitation program is managed by an interagency task force composed of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government and Tourism.

On August 4 a 20-day inspection and investigation will commence to determine the owners and which establishments are non-compliant to the environmental law and hold no necessary permits.

Those who fail government auditing will be ordered closed.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted however, that it would be impossible to demolish all structures established within the 20-meter easement zone.

“What we want to promote are the islands of El Nido,” Año said.

“Doon dapat pumunta ang mga tourist doon sa sentro (Tourists should be led to the city center). It’s more on commercial ang lodging, accommodation for the tourist,” he added.

Meanwhile, several areas in Bacuit Bay were declared ‘no swimming zone’ due to contaminated water and because the structures there were already by the beach.

These areas are the Corong-Corong Outfall, El Nido Estero Outfall, Masagana Outfall anf Cabugao Outfall.

“Ang Corong-Corong Outfall, ang fecal coliform is now at 99,315. Ang normal is 100, (Corong-Corong Outfall’s fecal coliform (level) is now at 99,315. The normal level is (only) 100,)” noted Tourism Secretary Bernadet Romolu-Puyat.

“Maiintindihan naman nila siguro kung bakit bawal mag swimming, (They would understand why swimming is banned),” she added.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu stressed that this effort of the government is a way to protect the area and so as not to worsen pollution problems in the island such as what happened in Boracay.

“We will continue to stop this because we cannot allow na mag-deteriorate ang El Nido (to deteriorate) into another Boracay,” Cimatu said.

According to DOT, there are about 200,000 tourists that visit El Nido every year. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

DOT: Museums in NCR Plus to reopen on limited capacity

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Museums in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus areas will be allowed to open on a limited capacity, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Friday (June 11).

Tourism sites in the NCR Plus will be allowed to accommodate 20% of its total capacity and is subjected to the health and safety restrictions implemented by the DOT and local government unit (LGU), based on the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). Guided tours will remain prohibited.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said this would help bring back employment.

“Our historical sites and museums in the NCR Plus Area may welcome visitors following the easing of quarantine restrictions. This is part of our efforts to restart tourism and leisure activities in a safe and steady manner, and to help bring back employment,” she said.

Puyat also said that the reopening of historical sites and museums is good timing as it coincides with the country’s observance of Independence Day.

“Revisiting our past brings us closer together as a people and draws us closer to a future free of the perils and uncertainty brought about by the pandemic,” she said.

The IATF approval covers historical sites and museums in the NCR Plus, which covers Metro Manila and the neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna, and which is currently under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) with restrictions. AAC

Palawan placed under state of calamity due to surge of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 9, 2021

Palawan was placed under state of calamity after recording a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Under Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Resolution No. 004 series of 2021, the local government would be able use other funds such as the trust fund and quick response fund for its COVID-19 response.

PDRRMO chief Jerry Alili had previously said that additional funds will be used for food packs, medicine, antigen test kits, personal protective equipment, and additional facilities. AAC

DOT welcomes IATF decision to allow leisure travel for all ages from NCR Plus Bubble

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow leisure travel for all ages from the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus Bubble.

Under the IATF Resolution No. 118A, the Task Force allowed leisure travel to and from NCR Plus bubble from June 1 to 15, 2021 to areas under a Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

However, there will still be restrictions such as requiring travelers below 18 and above 65 years old to undergo an RT-PCR test before travel.

Travel should only be from point-to-point which means that while pit stops or stopovers are allowed for eating and personal necessities, no side trips shall be made to other tourism destinations.

In a statement, the tourism department said allowing leisure travel will help local tourism back on track towards recovery,

“We are looking forward to once again see our tourism destinations welcome tourists from the NCR Plus area. Of course, this has to be done with utmost precaution,” Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat also said the DOT will continue to strengthen its coordination with our local government units (LGUs) to ensure the strict compliance of health and safety protocols.

“We continue to count on travelers to comply with minimum health protocols. I know our kababayans have been wanting to go out and enjoy during the summertime, but let us practice responsibility to protect ourselves and the communities in your chosen destinations,” Puyat added. AAC

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