Hotels may soon be allowed to accept more guests – DOT

Robie de Guzman   •   October 21, 2020   •   590

MANILA, Philippines – Hotels in areas classified under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ will soon be allowed to accept guests at full capacity in a bid to help the tourism industry recover from the effects of the pandemic, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said Wednesday.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has given the authority to the DOT to determine the allowable operational capacity for hotels, including those that offer staycations.

Puyat, however, stressed that the decision to open at 100% capacity will be up to the hotel management and subject to compliance with safety guidelines.

The announcement follows the issuance last week of an IATF resolution which amends the provision that only allows establishments in GCQ areas to operate with a skeleton work force.

For accommodation establishments in areas declared to be under MGCQ, Resolution No. 79 provides that the DOT shall determine their allowable operational capacity from the previous provision for a maximum of 50% operational capacity.

Operational capacity is defined by the IATF as such a number of employees who can be permitted to physically report to work on-site.

“Also approved in the said resolution is the easing up of interzonal and intrazonal movement, which is the predicate to reviving domestic tourism,” Puyat said.

“Along with this comes the need to ready the whole tourism value chain, which includes the accommodation, transportation, and tour operation sectors. Allowing the accommodation sector to operate at full capacity will be most welcomed by tourism’s workforce that has been greatly affected since the community lockdown,” she added.

The DOT is set to issue guidelines for the expanded operational capacity of hotels, she further stated.

Puyat earlier directed all hotels and other tourism establishments in GCQ areas to secure a DOT Certificate of Authority to Operate for Staycations (DCAOS) prior to accommodating any guests for that purpose.

Metro Manila, 7 other areas to end year 2020 under GCQ

Marje Pelayo   •   December 1, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Monday evening (November 30) the new round of community quarantines from December 1 until December 31, 2020.

Aside from Metro Manila, other areas placed under general community quarantine (GCQ) include Batangas, Iloilo City, Tacloban City, Lanao Del Sur, Iligan City, Davao City and Davao Del Norte.

Meanwhile, the rest of the country remains under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) until the end of the year.

Given the new restrictions, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III reminds all agencies and local government units to intensify information campaigns on health protocols this holiday season.

“Mabuting manatili sa bahay, at magkaroon lamang ng maliit na salo-salo kasama ang immediate family members upang maiwasan tayong mahawa at ang ating mga kapamilya, (It would be best to just stay at home and have a small buffet with immediate family members to avoid getting infected and transmission among family members),” said Duque.

This was supported by Interior Secretary Eduardo Año adding that it would be best to refrain from large gatherings like partying and caroling. 

“Iyon pong family reunion ay considered mass gathering, katulad po ng sinabi ni Sec. Duque, immediate family lang sana ang mag-celebrate at kailangan po ang minimum health standard ay ipatutupad (Family reunions are considered mass gathering. Like what Sec. Duque said, it would be best to celebrate with immediate family and minimum health standards are observed),” he said.

Duque said the Department of Health (DOH) is now preparing its facilities in anticipation of the the surge in COVID-19 cases after the holidays.

For President Duterte, still the best preventive measures against any infectious disease is proper hand washing, wearing of facemask, and staying at home. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DOT announces reopening of Siargao Island

Maris Federez   •   November 21, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Saturday (November 21) the upcoming reopening of one of the country’s premier destinations — Siargao Island.

In an advisory, the DOT said the teardrop-shaped island, known as the surfing capital of the Philippines, is set to welcome local tourists to its world-class white sand beaches, natural rock and cave pools, romantic sunsets, and wild water surf sites again on November 23.

The department said this was confirmed by Mayor Cecilia L. Ruson of the municipality of General Luna, Surigao del Norte thru a local executive order.

“This is encouraging news for everyone who loves the sea, especially the surfers. As Siargao reopens to travelers, subject to minimum health and safety standards, the people of the island will regain their livelihood and share their paradise to our kababayans once more with the same level of hospitality they have always been known for,” Secretary Puyat enthused.

The advisory added that with the resumption of flights to Siargao on December 1, “tourists can visit the country’s most well-known surf spots through Sayak Airport near the barangays of Del Carmen and Heneral Luna and discover a variety of hidden attractions.”

In compliance with IATF directives and local COVID management procedures, the Siargao LGU has set minimum health and safety standards and COVID testing requirements before tourists arrive on the island.

Tourists arriving via Surigao City/Sayak Airport will be required an e-Health Pass with valid ID; Negative RT-PCR result taken within 48 hours from point of origin; a five-day confirmed booking from an accommodation establishment with a Certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) or Provisional Certificate of Authority to Operate (PCAO) from the Department of Tourism, and a round-trip ticket/travel details, the advisory further said, as part of the protocol.

However, if the RT-PCR is taken more than 48 hours of departure from point of origin, a negative antigen swab will be required on the day of arrival.

Tourists from the province of Surigao del Norte, on the other hand, will be required an e-health pass with valid ID; certificate from the barangay captain that traveler is not a close contact; confirmed booking from an accredited DOT-accommodation establishment (AE).

Meanwhile, hotels and resorts will be allowed to operate once they completed their business permit; a certificate of Authority to Operate (CAO) from the DOT; E-Health System Registration; E-Health pass or QR code reader and new normal protocols approved by the Municipal Health Office.

The advisory added that curfew will also be enforced from 11:00PM to 4:00AM. — /mbmf

Davao City reverted to GCQ until Nov. 30 – Palace

Robie de Guzman   •   November 20, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Davao City has reverted to general community quarantine (GCQ) following the increase of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the city, Malacañang announced Friday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Davao City will be under GCQ beginning Friday, November 20 until November 30.

A one hospital command center will also be established in the city to ensure an “efficient referral system” as private hospitals are mandated to increase their ward bed occupancy up to 30%.

“Further, efforts will be made to address the shortage of nurses in health facilities and to provide additional high-oxygen cannulae, Favipiravir (Avigan), Remdesivir, medical equipment, among others,” Roque said in a statement.

“Accommodation establishments will be tapped to serve as quarantine facilities for health workers as well as the isolation of positive cases of COVID-19,” he added.

Law enforcement agencies are likewise directed to assist in the enforcement of granular lockdowns upon affected communities or clusters, and if necessary, deploy personnel in the city.

Melquiades Feliciano, deputy chief implementer of the National Task Force (NTF) against COVID-19 for the cities and Bacolod and Cebu, has been assigned to head the teams to be deployed in Davao City to assist in the response activities.

Data from the Department of Health Region 11 showed that as of Nov. 19, Davao City has recorded 5,520 COVID-19 cases, 1,874 of which are active.

The regional Inter-Agency Task Force earlier declared Davao City as a restricted local government unit which limits the movement and entry of travelers who will be visiting the city by either air, land, or sea to curb the rising coronavirus infections.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte issued Executive Order (EO) No. 63 which details the requirements and the list of authorized persons outside residence allowed entry to the city. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lucille Lloren)

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