Tourism dept. issues show-cause order to Makati hotel after Dacera killing

Robie de Guzman   •   January 5, 2021   •   1221

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Tuesday asked the City Garden Grand Hotel in Makati to explain why its government accreditation should not be suspended or revoked for possible violations for continuing to accept guests for leisure purposes when it is being used as a quarantine facility.

In a letter dated January 5, 2021, the DOT directed the hotel management to explain why it is still taking guests when government regulations state that an establishment being used as a quarantine or isolation facility are not allowed to provide accommodation for leisure purposes.

The hotel is the same establishment where flight attendant Christine Angelica Dacera was found dead.

“It has come to the attention of the DOT that the demise of a Philippine Airlines flight attendant occurred during a party held in your establishment on December 31, 2020. We understand based on reports that several individuals have checked-in or spend the evening in one of your rooms on the said date,” the letter read.

The hotel must submit its written explanation within three days, the department said.

Dacera was found in a bathtub in the hotel on January 1 after attending a private party, along with 11 male companions, in one of the hotel’s rooms.

She was rushed to a hospital but was declared dead on arrival due to a ruptured aortic aneurysm.

Authorities believe the flight attendant was sexually assaulted based on initial investigation. The results of Dacera’s autopsy are expected to be released soon.

Three suspects have been arrested while the rest are still at large.

Boracay’s White Beach, El Nido’s Nacpan Beach make list of TripAdvisor’s top beaches in Asia

Aileen Cerrudo   •   March 1, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Boracay’s white beach, and El Nido, Palawan’s Nacpan Beach are among the top beaches in Asia, according to TripAdvisor.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) celebrates the inclusion of two of the country’s famous beaches. TripAdvisor has ranked White Beach at the 12th spot and El Nido, Palawan’s Nacpan Beach at 18th.

“The TripAdvisor recognition is all the more heartwarming as sun and beach have always been the country’s best tourism products,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

Puyat also said the two beaches are among the first destinations the tourism department has opened up.

Based on the travel survey, travelers have new preferences when it comes to choosing holiday destinations due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

The DOT noted that other key implications from the evolved travelers’ preferences, based on TripAdvisor, include outdoors and well-ventilated areas over confined spaces or facilities which re-circulate air.

Meanwhile, Puyat reminded travelers about the health and safety protocols in various tourist destinations in the country.

“And while we celebrate our beaches being named among the best in Asia, please be responsible tourists when travelling. Follow all the health and safety protocols for a safe and fun beach trip,” she said. AAC

Tourism dept. backs DILG move to streamline travel requirements

Robie de Guzman   •   February 23, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed its support for the move of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to streamline the travel procedures and requirements being imposed by local government units (LGU).

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said her department has long been advocating for the “simplification of travel requirement as this is critical in making domestic tourism work.”

Citing a survey conducted from November 28 to December 30, 2020, Puyat said that 81 percent of respondents consider the varying LGU requirements as the factor that makes travel most inconvenient.

The survey was conducted by the DOT in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management – Dr. Andrew L. Tan Center for Tourism, and Guide to the Philippines.

Among the common travel requirements being imposed by the LGUs are the medical certificate, other types of pre-travel or test-on-arrival COVID tests and quarantine.  

At the destinations, some rules that need to be standardized are those that relate to RT-PCR for children/infant, rooming or capacity limits and age restrictions vis-à-vis inter- and intra-regional movement of domestic tourists, the DOT said.

“Streamlining entry requirements will make travelling in the new normal more convenient while also protecting the public’s safety and well-being,” Puyat said.

“Furthermore, this will also help in preventing the entry of those who falsify documents by standardizing validation protocols,” she added.

The DILG earlier expressed support for proposals to place the entire country under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) classification to “harmonize” regulations being implemented by LGUs.

DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said there is a need to remove “redundancies” and impose less stringent requirements for domestic tourist travel, while managing health risks at the same time.

He, however, emphasized that the less restrictive quarantine classification would not mean abandoning health protocols but simply streamlining regulations to bring back jobs and revive the economy battered by the pandemic.

The DILG said works on streamlining regulations for domestic travel are ongoing to encourage tourism and revive the sector, as well as the country’s economy in general.

Ilang bahagi ng Intramuros sa Maynila, binuksan na sa publiko

Robie de Guzman   •   February 17, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – Bukas na sa publiko simula ngayong araw ang ilang bahagi ng Intramuros sa Maynila, ayon sa Department of Tourism (DOT).

Sinabi ni Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, handa na ang makasaysayang walled city sa pagtanggap ng mga turista lalo’t marami itong malalawak na lugar na ligtas puntahan ng mga tao sa gitna ng pandemya.

Ang pagbubukas ng Intramuros ay kasunod na rin ng panawagan para sa mas marami pang tourism activities at destinations upang makatulong sa pagbangon ng ekonomiya ng bansa.

“Now, with the easing of quarantine restrictions while the recommended health and safety protocols remain in place, Intramuros is ready and prepared to welcome back the public to the city’s many plazas, open spaces, heritage sites and museums,” ang wika ni Puyat.

Ang mga sumusunod na tourist sites sa Intramuros ang maaaring pasyalan ng publiko:

Ang Fort Santiago na bukas mula Lunes hanggang Linggo, ang Casa de Manila mula Martes hanggang Linggo, at ang Baluarte de San Diego na maaari namang bisitahin mula Sabado hanggang Linggo.

Sarado pa sa ngayon ang iba pang tourist sites sa Intramuros.

Paalala ng DOT na ang mga bisitang may edad 15 hanggang 65 lamang ang papayagang pumasok sa mga nabanggit na lugar.

May entrance fee na P75 para sa mga adult habang P50 naman sa mga estudyante at persons with disabilities. Maaari itong bayaran ng cash o kaya ay sa pamamagitan ng online platform.

Limitado lamang ang maaaring pumasok sa loob ng mga gusali alinsunod sa health and safety protocols kontra COVID-19.

Kukunin rin ang body temperature at sasailalim sa symptoms screening ang mga turista. Hindi maairing pumasok ang mga walang suot na face mask.

Kailangan ring i-download ng mga bisita ang staysafe.ph app at sagutan ang health declaration form rito para sa contact tracing. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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