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DOT inks agreement with PCMC for subsidized COVID-19 tests for tourists

Rosette Adel - Philstar.com
DOT inks agreement with PCMC for subsidized COVID-19 tests for tourists
This undated photo shows health care worker taking a swab from a woman at a mobile testing site.
The STAR / Walter Bollozos

MANILA, Philippines —The Department of Tourism and its attached marketing and promotions agency Tourism Promotions Board on Monday signed a memorandum of agreement with the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) to further expand affordable RT-PCR (Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing in time for New Year domestic travels.

Under this agreement—valid until June 2021— the agency will shoulder 50% of the P1,500 RT-PCR testing cost administered by the PCMC. The remaining P750 will be shouldered by the tourist.

To avail of the PCMC’s 50% testing cost subsidy, tourists must register online to pre-schedule their swab test at  http://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/. They are required to submit a valid government-issued ID card, proof of hotel booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, and proof of mode of travel such as airline or bus ticket.

PCMC said it will accept RT-PCR test applications on a first-come, first-served basis as it can only accommodate 100 qualified domestic tourists per day.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat  Puyat added that the DOT is  earmarking   P 8.7M   from   this   year’s   Special Contingency Fund (SCF) of the TPB to subsidize 50 percent of the   P1,500   RT-PCR   test   cost to 11,600 qualified domestic tourists.

She said rolling out of the RT-PCR financial subsidy program for qualified tourist is just one of the tourism promotions’ recovery strategy to support the country’s tourism industry greatly hit by the ongoing pandemic.

“I am hopeful that this initiative with PCMC will help transcend the prohibitive  barrier of testing   requirements,  thereby restoring confidence to travel again,” Puyat said in her keynote speech.

“After such a tough year, we look forward to better days when we can revisit friends and family, have a respite in the places which we consider as our sanctuaries, and rediscover the rich heritage of our diverse cultures across the country,” she added.

The DOT and TPB first signed a MOA with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital to subsidize 50% of the hospital’s RT-PCR testing cost of P1,800 for about 11,000 qualified domestic tourists.

Puyat said this initiative was well received and, as of December 26, the TPB has processed a total of 1,569 applications.

Of which, 965 have been approved while 150 are undergoing validation, and the rest did not meet eligibility requirements.

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM NEW NORMAL NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PHILIPPINE CHILDREN'S MEDICAL CENTER PHILIPPINE TOURISM
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