Bohol to require negative RT-PCR tests for tourists

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2021 01:58 PM

Chocolate Hills. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA - The provincial government of Bohol will require incoming tourists to present negative coronavirus disease (COVID-19) test results, its governor said Saturday, amid the recent spike in cases.

This, despite a decision by the government's pandemic task force to set uniform guidelines for domestic travel - which removes COVID-19 test results and quarantine procedures as a requirement for travel across provinces, towns and cities. 

In a public press briefing, Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap said the RT-PCR test results must have been released at most 72 hours prior to a traveler's departure for Bohol. 

“Speaking for Bohol, hindi kami komportable na papasok nang walang testing especially na umaakyat ang figures for infections,” Yap said in the briefing. 

(We are not comfortable with tourists entering the province without test results, especially with the rising figures for infections.) 

Arriving tourists should have no apparent COVID-19 symptoms.

Towards the end of February, the pandemic task force unified travel protocols for all local government units, doing away with mandatory COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements. 

However, the task force left it up to LGUs to impose requirements, citing the different transmission rates in certain areas. 

Bohol, home to top tourist destination Chocolate Hills, initially required its tourists to take tests and undergo quarantine upon arrival before the unified travel protocols were set. 

Yap said the LGU wanted its tourists and residents to “feel safe” as it decided to continue enforcing restrictions.

"We want to make sure na lahat ng bisita namin ay safe. Ang safety rin ay interes ng mga nakatira so kailangan 'yung local residents must also feel safe," Yap said. 

(We want to make sure that all tourists are safe. The safety is also of the interest of the residents, so we need the local residents to also feel safe.) 

Bohol has been welcoming leisure tourists since December 15, as the country sought to jumpstart the tourism sector - a huge contributor to the country’s GDP.