Foreign residents in the Philippines may now avail of the subsidized real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing administered by the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), to spur the recovery of the tourism sector, which has been affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
Last week, the Department of Tourism (DOT), through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, entered a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with UP-PGH to ease the financial burden of would-be travelers in the new normal.
In its updated guidelines, the TPB said foreigners residing in the country—be they workers, long-term residents, students, or other qualified visa holders—can also apply for the 50 percent subsidy of the of the P1,800 regular swab testing fee at the partner hospital as long as the purpose of domestic travel is for tourism.
Interested applicants can submit an alien certificate registration card as replacement to the valid government-issued identification card required for Filipino travelers. This is on top of other needed documents, which include a copy of a confirmed accommodation booking at any DOT-accredited accommodation establishment and proof of transportation roundtrip tickets for airline, bus, or ferry.
TPB Chief Operating Officer (COO) Atty. Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones earlier clarified that only leisure travelers, across all ages, who intend to travel in any reopened local tourism destination in the Philippines requiring a test-before-travel policy, can avail of the P900 subsidized testing fee in UP-PGH, not locally stranded individuals (LSIs), business travelers, government employees who plan to do “workation,” among others.
Tourists must register at www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/ five days or earlier prior to the scheduled departure date and submit all the requirements.
Qualified tourists will receive an email from UP-PGH to access the online Client Investigation Form (CIF) via cif.pgh.gov.ph and be notified of their swab test schedule.
As UP-PGH can only accommodate 100 RT-PCR tests per day, applications will be attended on a first-come, first-served basis.
Only those who have submitted the CIF online and have received confirmation of the swab test schedule will be accommodated.
Walk-in requests will be denied. For families who plan to travel together, children can also avail of the test subsidy.
Based on IATF Resolution No. 84, age restrictions for travelers for tourism purposes may be relaxed upon the determination of local government units, and subject to prior consultation with the DOT, Department of Health (DOH), and Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).