Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the decision to require tourists to undergo the RT-PCR COVID-19 tests before entry depends on the Provinces and local government units (LGU).
In a bid to boost tourism and economic activities, the Philippines’s coronavirus task force recently eased restrictions by removing the mandatory RT-PCR tests for domestic travel.
Although it is still up to the LGU to require tests as they see fit, Romulo-Puyat said.
"The protocols are really up to the local government unit. It is the decision of the LGU kung maglalagay sila ng test before travel whether its saliva or swab (if they want to impose test before travel)," Romulo-Puyat said.
"Yung mga ibang LGU ayaw pa rin magbukas kahit MGCQ [modified general community quarantine] kasi feeling nila hindi pa sila ready. Now, on the other hand, there are other LGUs na feeling nila ready sila and there is no need for a test before travel," she added.
(Some LGUs still refuse to open up despite being under MGCQ because they feel like they're not yet ready. Now, on the other hand, there are other LGUs who feel that they're ready and that there is no need for a test before travel).
Romulo-Puyat said the following destinations still require RT-PCR tests:
- El Nido
- San Vicente (reopening on March 15)
- Puerto Princesa (reopening on March 15)
- Ilocos Norte
- Ilocos Sur
- Pangasinan (reopening this month)
- La Union (reopening this month)
The coronavirus pandemic has greatly affected the tourism sector in the Philippines.
Losses in terms of potential revenue from international tourists in 2020 were estimated to reach P400 billion, Romulo-Puyat earlier said.
Source: ABS-CBN News