Ronnie Ong

Lifting of quarantine, COVID test on jabbed travelers urged

October 14, 2021 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 216 views

A PARTY LIST congressman on Wednesday urged the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Emergence of Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to finally lift the quarantine and RT-PCR test requirement for fully-vaccinated local and foreign tourists as long as they have a pre-booked accommodation and a pre-arranged itinerary.

Although premier tourism destinations like Boracay, Coron, El Nido, Siargao, and Cebu are slowly opening up to tourists, Ang Probinsyano (AP) Rep. Ronnie Ong said restrictive and expensive travel requirements is slowing down the country’s recovery from the economic dislocation caused by the pandemic.

To ensure that travelers are properly documented and properly monitored, Ong said their pre-booked accommodations must be made only on hotels and lodging houses certified by the Department of Tourism (DoT).

Ong said all hotel staff, guides, drivers, and other tourism personnel must be also fully-vaccinated.

Areas that will be open to tourism must be made in areas with alert levels equivalent to Moderate General Community Quarantine and General Community Quarantine.

“ I believe that we are ready to open our tourism to local and international travelers who have been vaccinated. We just have to make sure that that they only come in contact with people who are also vaccinated to minimize the possibility of transmission. The key in doing this properly is strict monitoring and documentation,” Ong said.

“Since we expect that face-to-face interaction will be only among vaccinated individuals which reduces the risk of infection, I think that we can skip the RT-PCR requirement and quarantine for international travelers. For foreign tourists, the government should just make sure that their country of origin has no Covid surge or are listed as safe by the DoT,” Ong explained.

Ong said that the government needs to provide Philippine tourism an extra push to be able to recover following shutdowns and economic dislocation by many industries involved in the tourism sector.

Before the pandemic, he said tourism is a major boon to the Philippine economy, contributing a 12.7 % share to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and generating 5.7 million new jobs nationwide.

“Sobrang bugbog ang turismo natin. While the government spends so much money on direct cash aids, business owners in the tourism sector are not really getting any support from the government. I think that it is about time that the IATF should relax some restrictions for fully vaccinate tourists so that we can start rebooting this sector,” Ong said.