Date posted on September 24, 2020
From Philippine News Agency:
As some of the country’s tourist spots prepare to reopen, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, on Wednesday ordered all police units to start coordinating with their respective local government units (LGUs) to maintain strict implementation of health and safety protocols against the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).
Eleazar made the directive in coordination with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Gen. Camilo Cascolan, as the re-opening of Tagaytay City and Baguio City to local tourism could motivate other LGUs to open their borders to local tourists in order to jumpstart their economies which were badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Early planning is essential in the success of local tourism. As police commanders, we have the obligation to ensure that there must be a balance between the revival of the local economy and the health safety of the people in this time of pandemic,” Eleazar said.
Cavite earlier opened its borders to all Tagaytay City-bound tourists as long as visitors would come from areas under the modified general community quarantine and lower quarantine status.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, on the other hand, also opened the borders of the city to tourists from Region 1 but limited the number of visitors to only 200 per day initially.
Magalong said they may increase the number of tourists in the coming days.
Eleazar said spurring the local tourism is inevitable despite the Covid-19 threat as both local and national governments bid to revive the economy from six months of restrictions.
Based on the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infection Diseases, only areas under MGCQ are allowed to open their borders to tourists.
Eleazar said police commanders should be involved in the planning of the local tourism to ensure that both the security and health of the residents and tourists would be guaranteed.
“We leave it to the LGUs to craft and implement plans for their respective local tourisms. Local police commanders, however, must ensure that they are always updated in the planning and implementation,” he added.
In a virtual Laging Handa press briefing, Año assured that all safety and health protocols are in place for the reopening of Boracay island to the public next month.
Año confirmed having met with the Department of Tourism (DOT) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) with regards to the island’s opening.
He said those who will visit Boracay will have to undergo reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, adding that a quarantine facility is available for those who will be tested positive of Covid-19.
On October 1, Año said Boracay is ready to accommodate domestic tourists even from areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) since rapid tests are available and mandatory in the island resort.
“We saw their preparation, we can say that come October Boracay is prepared,’’ Año said.
Initially, the gradual opening of Boracay started in June for Aklan residents only. Residents of Western Visayas later were allowed to come in.
Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Wednesday said the resumption of tourism businesses in the resort island would be “calibrated” with several measures in place.
Upon its reopening, travelers from GCQ and modified GCQ areas would be subject to the “test before travel” regulation that requires a negative RT-PCR result 48 to 72 hours prior to departure.
Among others, visitors would be advised to go on a strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island.
The DOT said Boracay’s health and safety guidelines would still be subject to continued enhancement.
To date, there are about 199 Boracay hotels and resorts representing 4,416 rooms with certificates of authority to operate issued by the DOT.
A Covid-19 Laboratory is also now operational at Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan, which forms a part of the network of facilities and services needed in a safe environment for host communities, business stakeholders, and tourists.
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