Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday, Oct. 27, appealed for a price cap on COVID-19 tests to help in tourism revival.

PUYAT - Sec. Puyat: Put a price cap on COVID tests
DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat
(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

In a statement, the Department of Tourism (DOT) chief said she supports the call to impose a cap on the costs of the real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and antigen testing for novel coronavirus disease “to make traveling an affordable option for all.”

Puyat said that, while she acknowledges the importance of the testing on the safety of visitors, locals, and the tourism workforce, “the Department likewise finds it imperative to address the urgent need to impose a price cap on these accepted COVID-19 testing methods to promote domestic tourism, which in turn can generate employment and stimulate economic recovery.”

She appealed for cooperation among Department of Health-accredited testing facilities to make the testing less costly.

“We likewise appeal to the accredited test centers to provide budget-friendly but credible COVID-19 diagnostic tests,” she said. 

A more affordable testing will attract more travelers and, in turn, will help bring back jobs and livelihood to tourism areas, Puyat said.

As part the efforts to revive the economy, the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) had further relaxed travel restrictions in areas under a general community quarantine (GCQ) and a modified GCQ.

It allowed the interzonal movement of persons not authorized outside of residences (non-APOR) for any purpose, but subject to the minimum health standards and regulations set by concerned local government units (LGUs).

The IATF authorized the DOT to take the helm in accrediting procedures, facilities, and activities, as well as set determining operating capacities for tourism establishments.

Last Oct. 21, the government also allowed non-essential outbound travels for Filipinos, who no longer have to undergo antigen tests before departure.

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