Boracay reopens to local tourists
Jennifer Rendon (The Philippine Star) - June 13, 2020 - 12:00am

ILOILO CITY , Philippines – Boracay will reopen to local tourists on June 16.

During its meeting on Thursday, the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force approved the recommendation of Aklan Gov. Florencio Miraflores to gradually open Boracay, starting with tourists from Western Visayas.

These are tourists from Aklan, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Antique, Capiz, Guimaras and the cities of Iloilo and Bacolod.

“The task force is very cautious... Gradual muna. Kung maganda ang sitwasyon, we could start opening the island to tourists from around the country,” Natividad Bernardino, Boracay Inter-Agency Rehabilitation Management Group general manager, said.

Bernardino said opening the island to Western Visayas tourists is sort of a dry run on how to go about in the new normal.

She said  Boracay could be opened to other local tourists if the island or Aklan can maintain its coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-free status.

The six COVID-19 patients in Aklan have recovered.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said  the heads of the Boracay task force, including Interior Secretary Eduardo Año and Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, were impressed by what they saw in Boracay, citing its QR code for health declaration forms and COVID testing machines.

”As Boracay helped the country bring in more than eight million foreign tourists in 2019, it will once again be a key component in reviving tourism in light of the pandemic,” Puyat  said.

Brig. Gen. Rene Pamuspusan, Western Visayas police  director, said tourists below 21 years and those 60 and above are still not allowed on the island, in keeping with minimum health standards. Catherine Talavera

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