MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) defers to the local government units (LGUs) of tourist destinations whether to drop the swab tests for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) as an entry requirement for travelers.
The department made the statement on Saturday following the approval of uniform travel protocols for all LGUs by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to facilitate travel movement and promote local tourism.
Under IATF-EID Resolution 101, mandatory testing may be removed except when the LGU requires it before travel.
The task force also instructed LGUs to do away with mandatory quarantine unless the traveler exhibits symptoms upon arrival.
"The department, therefore, welcomes the approval of uniform travel protocols for all LGUs by the IATF-EID to facilitate travel movement and promote local tourism. The DOT deems the simplification of requirements as vital in encouraging domestic travel and helping in the speedy recovery of Philippine tourism," the DOT said.
For destinations requiring reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests, the DOT's subsidized program in partnership with the University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) would remain in place to help reduce the costs of the swab tests and encourage travel.
"Meanwhile, the DOT reminds tourists and stakeholders of the need to still strictly ensure minimum health and safety protocols, such as wearing of a mask and face shield, physical distancing, hand sanitizing, and booking or operating in DOT-accredited establishments, among others, to protect both the tourists, tourism workers, and residents of host communities," it said. (PNA)