Tourism chief wants to remove age restrictions for Boracay tourists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2020 08:03 AM | Updated as of Sep 24 2020 08:53 AM

This photo taken on June 17, 2020 shows a policeman standing guard along the empty famous white beach of Boracay Island in central Philippines, as community quarantine against COVID-19 still continues throughout the country, with foreign tourists still banned on beaches. Ernesto Cruz, AFP/File

MANILA -- Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo–Puyat said Thursday she would ask an inter-agency task force to allow Metro Manila residents to visit Boracay when it further reopens on Oct. 1 and remove age restrictions for tourists in the island.

Metro Manila is still under GCQ or general community quarantine, which prohibits leisure-related travel to contain novel coronavirus infections. Those aged above 60 and below 20 are also barred from leaving their homes.

"Hihingin din namin sa IATF na wala nang age restriction, kahit na iyong above 60 at below 20 ay papayagan na rin kasi diba ang mga Pilipino nagta-travel iyan as a family," Romulo-Puyat told TeleRadyo.

(We will ask the IATF to remove the age restriction, to allow those aged above 60 and below 20 to travel because Filipinos travel as a family.)

"Aside from puwede ang mga taga-GCQ lumipad na sa Boracay, hihingin namin na alisin ang age restriction," she said.

(We will also request that: aside from letting those from GCQ areas fly to Boracay, we will also ask for the age restriction to be removed.)

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Those who want to visit Boracay need a negative PCR coronavirus test result 48 to 72 hours before their trip. They also need to register online with any of some 200 resorts and establishments that the tourism department has certified, said Romulo-Puyat.

Boracay tourists should also wear anti-virus masks "all the time" and observe physical distancing.

The Oct. 1 reopening of Boracay has the backing of the environment and interior departments, and Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores, she said.

"Tuloy. Hopefully tingin ko naman 99.9 percent [magbubukas]," she said.

(It's a go. Hopefully I think it has a 99.9 percent chance of opening.)

The resort island in 2019 closed for 6 months to give way to a rehabilitation of its sewage system. It reopened in October 2019, only to be shuttered again by the pandemic last March.

In June, Boracay partially reopened to tourists from elsewhere in the Western Visayas region. -- With a report from Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News