DILG to check reports some provinces refusing to welcome tourists
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said it would verify reports that there are some provinces that are refusing to welcome tourists regardless of the unified travel protocols set up by the COVID-19 task force.
“I’d like to double-check whether or not there are such at least as of today that there are local government units (LGUs) not allowing tourists,” DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said during the House transportation committee hearing, adding that the tourism industry is important for the recovery of the Philippine economy.
The unified protocols do not need COVID-19 testing at the level of LGUs, but Densing said the DILG is not compelling them to do away with the RT-PCR test.
“Hindi naman natin minamanduhan ‘yung ating lokal na gobyerno na tanggalin ang testing. In fact ‘yun ang exception to the rule. Ang general rule is no testing is necessary. However, if the local government wants to impose testing, pinapayagan sila,” he said.
(We are not requiring them to remove the testing. In fact, that’s the exception to the rule. The general rule is no testing is necessary. However, if the local government wants to impose testing, they are allowed.)
Densing made the remarks after Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) executive director Robert Lim said that provinces such as Iloilo, Kalibo, Bacolod province, Tacloban, Cagayan De Oro, Davao and General Santos had refused to accommodate visitors.
“We hope that the IATF Resolution creating the protocols of opening up domestic travel, the LGU policy on prohibiting tourists will be open because we believe the economic recovery at this point in time one year after the pandemic should be at the foremost in the recovery of these communities and of the country,” Lim said.
Under the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (IATF) Resolution No. 101, COVID-19 testing and quarantine for travelers are not mandatory unless the LGU requires these.
Liezelle Soriano Roy, trainee
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