The Department of Tourism said they would resume subsidizing 50% RT-PCR testing for qualified domestic tourists through the Philippines' Tourism Promotions Board (TPB).
Following the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow leisure travel for people of all ages from NCR Plus Regions to areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).
An agreement is made between the TPB and two government hospitals and their accredited COVID-19 laboratories for the subsidized RT-PCR testing program — the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.
Domestic tourists must meet the basic requirements to be qualified; they must have confirmed round trip transportation tickets and booking confirmation with a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment.
"The Philippine tourism industry has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The subsidy aims to encourage domestic travel by aiding the tourists in fulfilling the RT-PCR test requirement and to enable them to visit their destination of choice at a lesser cost," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.
She added that the move is expected to help further bring the tourism industry back to its feet. In addition, she stressed that the increased number of travelers could help boost consumer spending, which could hasten economic recovery.
The subsidy program costs P35.17 million for the whole year.
The current agreement of the TPB with the UP-PGH and PCMC runs from January to June 2021, with the UP-PGH receiving Php 9.99 million while PCMC received Php 8.70 million, benefiting 22,711 domestic travelers.
The TPB is set to ink a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the PCMC to extend the RT-PCR Subsidy Program from July 1 to December 31, 2021, to benefit 13,333 local tourists.
"We at the DOT are doing whatever we can to help the industry and its stakeholders recoup their losses and ensure security and sustainability amid this pandemic," Puyat said.
To apply for the 50% RT-PCR test subsidy for tourists, visit https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/.