The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced some provinces are said to be refusing the entry of tourists in their borders even though a unified travel protocol has already been established. The department will look more into confirming the reports.
"I'd like to double-check whether or not there are such at least as of today that there are local government units (LGUs) not allowing tourists," Epimaco Densing III, the DILG Undersecretary, said on the House transportation committee hearing. He added that the tourism industry is essential for the Philippines to recover its economy.
The unified protocols suggested that the requirement of the COVID-19 testing is no longer needed at the level of the LGU's. On the other hand, Densing said that the DILG is not suggesting to the LGU's to completely remove the RT-PCR test.
“Hindi naman natin minamanduhan ‘yung ating lokal na gobyerno na tanggalin ang testing. In fact ‘yun ang exception to the rule. Ang general rule is no testing is necessary. However, if the local government wants to impose testing, pinapayagan sila,” he said.
(We are not requiring the local government to remove the testing. In fact, that the exception to the rule. The general rule is no testing is necessary. However, if the local government wants to impose testing, then they are allowed to.)
Densing announced the issue after Robert Lim, the Executive Director of the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP), said that some provinces including Iloilo, Kalibo, Bacolod province, Tacloban, Cagayan De Oro, Davao, and General Santos refused to accommodate incoming visitors into their provinces.
“We hope that the IATF Resolution creating the protocols of opening up domestic travel, the LGU policy on prohibiting tourists will be open because we believe the economic recovery at this point in time one year after the pandemic should be at the foremost in the recovery of these communities and of the country,” Lim said.
The Resolution No. 101, under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases' (IATF-EID), states that the COVID-19 testing and quarantine for travelers are not a mandatory requirement unless the LGU requires it.