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DOT chief hopes tourism workers in reopened spots will also be on vaccine priority list
In this Oct. 14, 2020 photo, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat undergoes temperature check in a staycation hotel.
DOT/Released

DOT chief hopes tourism workers in reopened spots will also be on vaccine priority list

Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - February 5, 2021 - 4:04pm

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Friday said she is hopeful for the inclusion of tourism industry workers at recently-opened destinations in the priority group for the country’s vaccination program against COVID-19.

The government task force has already included some tourism workers — those who provided frontline services during the Enhanced Community Quarantine — but not all in the tourism industry.

“We also look forward to the inclusion of tourism industry workforce at recently-opened destinations, who operate facilities and serve guests directly, as part of the priority groups for vaccination. Our sector’s human capital is essential to the country's socio-economic recovery,” Puyat said.

Among the major tourism destinations that reopened to tourists in general community quarantine areas are Baguio City, Batangas, Bohol, Boracay, Coron, El Nido, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. 

The list of updated reopened destinations can be accessed on the DOT's travel site here: https://philippines.travel/safetrip#reopeneddestinations

DOT welcomes inclusion of tourism frontliners in vaccination priority list

Puyat made the remark after the pandemic task force included tourism frontline service personnel in the vaccination priority list.

The DOT welcomed this move and lauded National Task Force against COVID-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez, also the vaccine czar, for granting their request to include the tourism frontliners in the vaccine priority group.

Based on Resolution No. 1, approved by the pandemic task force on Friday, tourism frontliners will fall within Priority Group A4, or "Frontline personnel in essential sectors including uniformed personnel and those in working sectors identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease as essential during enhanced community quarantine."

The Interim National Immunization Technical Advisory Group crafted the resolution with the Department of Health Technical Advisory Group.

Puyat stressed the importance of COVID-19 vaccination for the tourism frontliners.

“Protection through the vaccine and health care support systems will primarily boost their immune system and more importantly, fortify their mental and emotional core to continue working under stressful COVID conditions,” the tourism chief said.

She cited that the vaccination is critical for frontliners who continue to man the ports of entry and those who serve at accommodation establishments that have been repurposed as quarantine facilities.”

“These personnel have been there at the onset of the pandemic - had risked life and limb during the repatriation efforts and up to now, remain at risk with the constant exposure with incoming travelers and guests from all parts of the world,” the tourism chief said.

As of January 12, Puyat said the DOT had set up response teams and organized 1,219 repatriation missions including sweeper flights, with the regional offices, the Tourism Promotions Board, as well as the various embassies and local government units since March last year.

Puyat said that the DOT assisted a total of 32,360 foreign and 11,408 local tourists who were stranded at the start of the lockdown.

Tourism frontliners were also deployed in the agency’s activated 24/7 Online Response Team.

Aside from these, the DOT has a team on duty at the One-Stop-Shop Processing Area at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport 1 to assist arriving non-Overseas Filipino workers, returning verseas Filipinos and foreign nationals.

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT COVID-19 COVID-19 VACCINE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM NEW NORMAL NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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