Duterte to go on with Boracay visit as public told to stay indoors due to COVID-19
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will push through with his visit to Boracay, Malacañang said Tuesday, despite the confirmed local transmission of the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country.
Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the Chief Executive will visit Boracay this Thursday to distribute land ownership certificates.
“There’s a scheduled event on distribution of certificate, land certificates on Thursday afternoon,” Panelo said in a press briefing.
Duterte, however, will not go around Boracay as he has another event on the evening of that day – he is set to meet with guests of Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.
“No, I don’t think he will go around. After the event, there’s another event in the evening. Doon din. One of the hotels, I think. To meet with some tourists or what, guests of Secretary Berna,” Panelo said.
Duterte is pushing through with the visit even after the Presidential Security Group (PSG) started to impose a “no touch” policy on the President to ensure his safety amid dangers posed by the novel coronavirus.
But Duterte said he would not follow PSG’s rule. He said he would continue to shake hands with the people he meets.
Tourism in the time of COVID-19
DOT earlier said the President is visiting Boracay in a bid to boost domestic tourism.
But Panelo advised the public to suspend their non-essential travel and instead stay indoors to prevent the spread of the virus.
“As the DOH says, staying indoors would be the ideal, avoid crowds if it’s not that urgent, then they should stay at home,” Panelo said.
“The prudent thing to do is to reset whatever travels you have in mind, if it’s not that important,” he added.
DOT had projected loss of P42.9 billion due to the COVID-19 scare and travel restrictions to China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
“Tourism industry all over the world will be affected, so we have to brace ourselves for that. Whether we like it or not, there will be business losses and we should brave ourselves for that,” Panelo said.
To date, the Philippines has 24 confirmed cases of COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus that first emerged in China’s city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the novel coronavirus as SARS-CoV-2.
Coronavirus is a family of viruses, which surfaces have a crown-like appearance. The viruses are named for the spikes on their surfaces.
The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link .
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.