The Department of Tourism is planning to finally open up the country this year, particularly those vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Tourism Secretary Romulo-Puyat said, after the government has allowed the visiting of the overseas or the balikbayans this month, she hopes the same can be extended towards the foreign nationals arriving in this country.
"Hoping that this year, especially those vaccinated, we will be able to open up to other countries, and not only confined to balikbayans," Puyat said.
To boost the country's domestic tourism, Romulo-Puyat is waiting for Metro Manila to move back to a less strict modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Changing to MGCQ this March allows freer travel to different establishments.
"We should really restart tourism because a lot of people lost their jobs. Mag-1 year na tayo [It's almost 1 year already], we know what to do. Metro Manila is placed under GCQ, but MGCQ is freer and tourism can be opened to everybody," Puyat said.
DISALLOW TRAVELERS WITH DOUBTFUL COVID TEST RESULTS
Reports state that some tourists are faking their swab results, one of which was the travelers in Boracay who faked their RT-PCR test results. Romulo-Puyat called the attention of the Local Government Units of popular tourist destinations to not allow the entry of travelers with doubtful or falsified COVID-19 test results.
"We remind the LGUs that if they are doubtful with the RT PCR, don't let them enter. Hahanapin niyo pa, magtatago pa yan...nagging super spreader na siya (If you let them, they will hide and become super spreaders). It's really important that the LGUs become more strict," she said.
In addition, Romulo-Puyat assured that the DOT is already partnering with government hospitals to lower the cost of the swab testing.
"There's really no reason for you to fake, unless na positive ka at gusto mo lang pumasok sa Boracay (unless you are positive and really wanted to enter Boracay)," Puyat said.
"Please be a responsible traveler, especially with COVID. You should not only think of yourself, but also of others," she added.
Recently, Valenzuela Rep. Wes Gatchalian filed a bill against those who found falsifying their test results. They would be fined up to P1 million and would face prison for 6 to 12 years.
On the other hand, top tourist destinations are now already open to the public, namely, Baguio, Bohol, Boracay, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and El Nido in Palawan.
You can check here the COVID-19 Travel Requirements on various tourist destinations in the Philippines.
Source: ABS CBN News