Reopening of domestic tourism looms; LGU’s tapped to ensure health, safety --- Roque

The national government is working closely with local government units (LGUs) to determine when tourism operations can resume in their areas of jurisdictions, Malacañang said Friday.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque (CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said any reopening of tourism activities must strictly comply with health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

“The President’s marching order is to gradually re-open the economy, including the tourism sector, with the assurance that health and safety measures are in place,” Roque said.

“The national government, through the Department of Tourism (DOT), is working in concurrence with the local government units (LGUs) as they determine when tourism operations would resume in their respective areas,” he said.

He noted that in Baguio City, the LGU has set its reopening this month. Baguio City is one of the places under the modified general community (MGCQ) where partial tourism operations are allowed.

“We must, however, emphasize that there must be proper and close coordination between the national government and the LGUs regarding the implementation of health and safety protocols when travelling,” Roque said.

Tourism operations are allowed to resume at half capacity in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) but must comply with health measures as precaution against the coronavirus outbreak. The entry of tourists is subject to the rules and regulations of the concerned local government units.

Based on the quarantine guidelines, travel industries in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) are not yet allowed to operate. Travel agencies however may reopen at limited capacity in these places.

The government has gradually relaxed the lockdown to jumpstart the sluggish economy and promote the people’s livelihood.

The tourism industry is one of sectors that has been severely affected by the strict lockdown as the government promoted a stay-at-home policy and imposed travel restrictions to contain the spread of the disease.

From September 1 to 30, the country is largely under MGCQ, the least restrictive of the four-level quarantine classification implemented by the government.

Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Tacloban City and Bacolod City have been placed under the GCQ while Iloilo City is the only area moved to the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).