Solon wants 'low-risk' tourist spots opened to fully-vaccinated international tourists

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 01 2021 03:25 PM

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MANILA - House Deputy Speaker Mikee Romero is proposing to open the country to international tourists from low-risk parts of the world who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). 

In an interview on ANC, Romero said the country can open up areas outside Metro Manila to international tourists coming from low-risk countries. 

Romero proposed to open up tourist hotspots such as Cebu, Palawan, Boracay, and Siargao to vaccinated tourists, saying the concentration of COVID-19 in these areas is low. 

He added that international bubbles can be established to accommodate people who have been vaccinated against the disease.

"Outside of Metro Manila there are like Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, [where] the COVID or the concentration of positive [cases] are not that much so why don't we put international bubbles. It's only NCR that's highly concentrated so I guess we could open up any parts of the country," Romero said. 

Romero, also a businessman, stressed the need to reopen the economy, which he described as "frozen" amid quarantine restrictions. 

"We have to open our economy, we cannot freeze our economy, we have a frozen economy we have the worst economy since 1947 last year. So if we still keep doing the same thing over and over we should expect still have the worst economy in the world so naghahanap ako ng ways to revive the economy (I am looking for ways to revive the economy). We could do international bubbles... like 'yung mga na-vaccinate na. I'm just starting a movement to revive the economy. Nahihirapan na ang taong bayan (Our countrymen are having a hard time)," he said. 

Romero also challenged the pandemic task force and economic managers to recalibrate travel restriction policies, and regain investor confidence, saying restrictions have also contributed to an "exodus" in investors. 

"You know the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) [has] done those things without thinking that a billion people have taken their vaccinations. The world is changing by the day. So We have to be more progressive, we have to open our minds. Talagang hinahamon ko ang (I am really challenging) IATF and economic managers to shift our mindset. We have to revive our economy somewhere," Romero said. 

Because of the pandemic, the Philippines recorded its worst peace-time economic contraction with a -9.5 percent growth rate in 2020. 

-- Dateline Philippines, May 1 2021