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PNP to assist visitors in tourist spots

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
PNP to assist visitors in tourist spots
PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said yesterday police securing tourist spots shall maintain distance to ensure that vacationers enjoy their stay.
STAR / Michael Varcas, file

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) is assuring people who will visit Boracay Island and other tourist destinations that police will only assist tourists and not interfere with their activities.

PNP deputy chief for administration Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said yesterday police securing tourist spots shall maintain distance to ensure that vacationers enjoy their stay.

He said police officers will only assist tourists and remind them constantly to follow minimum health standards such as wearing face masks and face shields as well observance of social distancing protocols.

“Hindi ho sila magagambala sa pagre-relax at pag-e-enjoy ng ating mga turista,” Eleazar told GMA News TV.

The government has allowed Boracay as well as the cities of Baguio and Tagaytay to reopen to boost local tourism, which was shuttered for several months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PNP has directed police commanders to coordinate with local government units (LGUs) with tourist destinations to ensure an orderly entry of visitors.

Eleazar said tourists in areas under general community quarantine are still required to secure a travel authority from the PNP.

He added that the LGUs with tourist spots are given leeway on whether to allow people 21 years old and below and senior citizens in their areas.

Cheaper COVID-19 test

With tourism reopening in some areas in the country, the Department of Tourism (DOT) hopes local governments and tourism establishments could use rapid antigen as a cheaper test for COVID-19.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said in a press conference yesterday that she hopes the pilot run of the rapid antigen testing by the Baguio City government and select businesses there would be successful.

The success of the rapid antigen test in Baguio City, which opened to tourists from the Ilocos region starting yesterday, would be “very crucial,” she said.

Antigen test would determine active infection of a virus in a patient, according to the Department of Health. While it collects swab samples, the result could be released within six hours, compared to the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test that takes up to three days.

The DOT recently obliged guests of staycation hotels and other lodging establishments to present a negative antigen test done on the day of check in.

Currently, a negative result of the PCR test taken two to three days before the flight would be required from tourists flying to the island of Boracay, which also opened for domestic tourists coming from areas under general community quarantine and modified GCQ yesterday. – Ghio Ong

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