COVID-19 test as travel requirement up to local governments: Tourism dep't


Posted at Feb 24 2021 08:01 AM | Updated as of Feb 24 2021 08:16 AM

Baguio residents undergo COVID-19 Saliva RT-PCR tests offered by the Philippine Red Cross at the Melvin Jones Grandstand on February 23, 2021. Jong Gasmena, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Tourism said Wednesday it would leave it up to local governments whether or not to require COVID-19 tests as a requirement for travelers.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government earlier said it was considering a proposal to remove COVID-19 testing as a requirement for travel.

The tourism agency only calls for uniformity among travel destinations' requirements, its chief Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said.

"Ang pabor kami is uniformity ng requirements. With regard to test before travel, we leave that actually to LGU (local government unit) kasi LGU ang nagdedesisyon (because they're the ones that decide)," she told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(What we favor is uniformity of requirements.)

"You have to respect the protocols of the LGU kasi alam nila ang cases sa kanila (because they know their COVID-19 cases)."

It is also up to the LGU whether to allow the use of saliva COVID-19 test, Puyat added.

The agency appealed to local governments to lessen travel requirements such as police clearance and health certificates, according to the secretary.

"We really have to restart tourism pero malayo pa talaga. Malayo pa kasi maraming ayaw magbukas na tourist destination, or number 2, marami pa ring nangangamba magtravel," she said.

(We really have to restart tourism but recovering is still far. It's still far because many tourist destinations have yet to open, many still fear travel.)

"Number 3, gusto nila magtravel pero sa dami-dami ng requirements parang ayaw na nila (they want to travel but the amount of requirements they have to accomplish overwhelm them)."

The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 will meet Friday to discuss the uniformity of travel requirements, Puyat said.

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