SALIVA TESTING. Tourists going to Boracay Island now have an option to take the saliva reverse polymerase chain reaction test instead of the swab test as part of the requirements. The use of saliva testing was approved by the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force during its meeting on Thursday (March 18, 2021). (PNA file photo)

ILOILO CITY – The Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) on Thursday accepted the use of saliva testing as part of the travel protocol for tourists.

Aklan Governor Florencio T. Miraflores, in a virtual press conference hosted by BIATF, said the proposal of the provincial and the local governments of Malay was approved by the task force during its meeting.

“The use of saliva test will be limited only for Boracay tourists because that was the one that was decided,” he said.

As per protocol of the province, before any tourist comes to the island, he or she must present a valid reverse polymerase chain reaction RT-PCR test proving that he or she is negative for Covid-19.

The test will not only be limited to the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) but other testing facilities accredited with the Department of Health (DOH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Miraflores said they will be issuing the necessary executive order and advisories to airline companies going to Caticlan regarding the use of the saliva test.

He added that the approval on the use of the saliva testing no longer needs the stamp of the national IATF.

“Whatever the BIATF has approved, I’m sure that this will now be the one that should be followed already. Under the IATF ruling, Boracay is under the supervision of the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force,” he added.

Malay Mayor Frolibar Bautista said officials are thankful for the approval because it would encourage more tourists.

The Department of Tourism (DOT), in a statement, welcomed the approval as it “expressed willingness to support funding for an RTPCR or gene expert machine as the local government unit (LGU) of Malay may propose”.

“The department likewise has recommended to the IATF that persons below 15 and above 65 years old traveling from Manila to Boracay should not be restricted from going to the airport and flying since Boracay is under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) as long as the passenger has a valid plane ticket,” the statement added.

It also reminded tourists and stakeholders to strictly observe minimum health and safety protocols.

Apart from the negative Covid-19 test result, tourists must also send their confirmed booking form, ID, and travel details to [email protected] for the issuance of their QR code. (PNA)