COVID-19 tests price cap seen to boost domestic tourism â Puyat
In this Dec. 11 2019 file photo, Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat speaks at the Kapihan sa Manila Bay at Cafe Adriatico, Malate, Manila.
PNA/Gil Calinga

COVID-19 tests price cap seen to boost domestic tourism — Puyat

Rosette Adel ( - November 4, 2020 - 9:08pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to make coronavirus tests and test kits affordable to the public is expected to boost tourism revival.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat welcomed Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 118 that directs the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry to impose a price ceiling for COVID-19 tests.  

“With a standard cost for RT-PCR and antigen tests, a requirement for entry to destinations around the country and staycations within General Community Quarantine areas, the DOT anticipates an increase in domestic trips as the gradual resumption of tourism activities will bring about local economic revitalization,” Puyat said.

The DOT chief said this will help regain travelers’ confidence to enjoy nature, culture and heritage destinations.

She likewise sees the signing of EO 118 as government’s commitment “to revive and boost the economy through the slow but safe, and sure revival of domestic tourism.”

Duterte signed EO 118 on Wednesday ordering the DOH and DTI to “ensure that the price range for COVID-19 testing and test kits is just, equitable and sensitive to all stakeholders.”

This order comes a week after Puyat, a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, asked the task force to impose a price cap on the real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction or the RT-PCR swab confirmatory test and Antigen tests for COVID-19 boost the reopening of tourism.

The DOH also sought for the price cap on RT-PCR test for COVID-19.

As the DOT welcomed the gradual reopening of tourist destinations in the country, Puyat said the “test before travel policy” remains in place. Tourists should present a negative result test for at least 48 to 72 hours, depending on the requirement of the destination’s local government unit.

Among the tourist destinations that have announced reopening to tourists from general community quarantine areas include Baguio City, Boracay, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, El Nido and a number of diving sites in Batangas.

Two weeks ago, Puyat also announced that hotels in areas classified under a modified GCQ and GCQ are now allowed to operate at 100-percent operational capacity

These developments came as the IATF also eased travel restrictions and approved relaxed interzonal and intrazonal movement, allowing individuals aged 15 to 65 to go out of their residence.

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