PBBM lauded for easing mask, PH entry protocols

October 27, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 126 views

And sending message to the world PH ready for tourists, investments

CAMARINES Sur Representative and National Unity Party (NUP) president LRay Villafuerte has lauded President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. for taking the audacious step of further easing the once stringent protocols on masking for everyone as well as border entry for international travellers, voicing optimism that such moves would send a clear message to the world that the Philippines is now fully open and ready for tourists and investments.

For Villafuerte, “the relaxation of the mandatory mask policy even in indoor settings and the lifting of the anti-Covid vaccination and RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) testing protocols for inbound international travellers would best underscore President Marcos’ message to the world that we are back after going through the pandemic’s wringer, that we have started to normalize the coronavirus situation, and that it’s time for us to put the economy back on its high growth path before the pandemic hit us almost three years ago.”

“The President’s issuance soon of an executive order (EO) on the removal of the strict Covid-related requirements on masking and inbound travel would attract more tourists and boost Philippine tourism, which is integral to the country’s quick and robust recovery from the global economic and health crises wrought by the once-in-a-century pandemic,” he said.

Malacañang’s further relaxation of these health protocols has come after Villafuerte’s weekend call for the lifting of strict travel curbs such as the mandatory booster shots and Covid-19 testing for international travellers in order to multiply tourist arrivals and let tourism fulfill its potential in the eyes of President Marcos as a “high driver” of our country’s economic transformation in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Villafuerte said last weekend that, “Rather than just playing catch-up to its Asian peers whose respective tourism industries have already started on strong-recovery mode, the Philippines, with its far better tourist attractions than those of its neighbors, could actually overtake its direct competitors in the region by doing away with its stringent travel curbs that have impelled most tourists to instead visit—and spend their money in—countries that have relaxed, if not jettisoned altogether, their Covid-related health and border entry protocols.”

“Our quick and strong rebound from the nearly three-year pandemic, which is contingent in part on the full recovery of our tourism sector and the dramatic increase in tourist arrivals, will probably remain elusive for so long as the Philippines is stuck on the list of countries with tough entry restrictions for travellers,” he said.

Back in September, Villafuerte had also proposed the easing of the mask mandate just days before President Marcos approved the recommendation by the Interagency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) to make masking voluntary in outdoor settings.