The Department of Tourism (DOT) welcomes President Duterte’s signing of Executive Order 118 Wednesday directing the Department of Health, in coordination with the Department of Trade and Industry, to ensure the accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 tests and test kits for all.
Under EO 118, the President said the DOH, in coordination with the DTI, is ordered to “determine, formulate, and implement a price range for COVID-19 testing conducted by hospitals, laboratories, and other health facilities as well as the test kits used subject to existing laws, rules, and regulations.”
The President also imposed the compliance with the price range as an additional requirement for the licensing and accreditation of COVID testing facilities.
Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat had earlier appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to impose a price cap on the real-time Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and Antigen tests for COVID-19 to enhance tourism revival by making testing more affordable to travelers.
With a standard cost for RT-PCR and antigen tests, a requirement for entry to destinations around the country and staycations within General Community Quarantine (GCQ) areas, the DOT anticipates an increase in domestic trips as the gradual resumption of tourism activities will bring about local economic revitalization.
Puyat noted that the COVID tests, now made affordable and accessible to Filipinos, will help regain travelers’ confidence to enjoy nature, culture, and heritage destinations.
The tourism chief added that the signing of EO 118 signals the government’s commitment to revive and boost the economy through the slow but safe revival of domestic tourism.