Obey ‘test before travel’ policy, Boracay tourists told

MANILA – Malacañang reminded tourists planning on visiting Boracay Island to comply with the “test-before-travel” policy as a preventive measure against coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the reminder after the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced that Boracay will open its doors to selected tourists starting Oct. 1 in a bid to revive the economy.

“Effective October 1, 2020, Boracay Island may accept tourists from areas within a community quarantine classification of general community quarantine (GCQ) or lower, apart from travelers from Western Visayas,” Roque said in a statement on Thursday night.

Under the guidelines, travelers will be subject to the test-before-travel regulation that requires a negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) result 48 to 72 hours prior to departure for Boracay.

“The test-before-travel shall be implemented and strict quarantine shall be observed immediately after undergoing the test until the date of the travel to the island,” he said.

He added that age restrictions will be relaxed while persons with comorbidities will remain to be strictly enforced.

Roque advised airlines to land at the Godofredo R. Ramos Airport in Caticlan, Municipality of Malay — the only airport of entry in moving tourists to the island.

He also reminded the local government to ensure that minimum health and safety guidelines are in place.

“Minimum health and safety guidelines as well as emergency response protocols must be in place, and a Covid-19 Laboratory in the locality must be operational,” he said.

A Covid-19 laboaratory is also now operational at Dr. Rafael S. Tumbokon Memorial Hospital in Kalibo, Aklan, that forms part of the network of facilities and services needed in a safe environment for host communities, business stakeholders, and tourists.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat earlier said the resumption of tourism businesses in Boracay would be “calibrated” with several measures in place.

There are presently about 199 Boracay hotels and resorts representing 4,416 rooms with certificates of authority to operate issued by the DOT. (PNA)