DOT exec makes case for Intramuros ‘family day’: Other countries are doing it, too

Published February 26, 2021, 4:57 PM

by Ellson Quismorio

A Department of Tourism (DOT) official justified on Friday, Feb.26 the proposed one-day, “family day” at Intramuros, Manila wherein no age restriction would be imposed on guests, particularly children, amid the persisting general community quarantine (GCQ).

“Isa po ito sa isinusulong namin na bigyan ng pagkakataon itong mga pamilya na makapasyal sa Intramuros without any age restrictions (One of the proposals we have is to give families the opportunity to visit Intramuros without any age restrictions),” Usec. Benito Bengzon Jr. said during the Laging Handa briefing.

“Ito pong konsepto na ‘family day’ at pag-aalis ng age restrictions, ginagawa na rin po ito sa mga ibang bansa eh (The concept of ‘family day’ and the removal of age restrictions is already being done in other countries),” Bengzon noted.

“Ang gusto lang natin magkaroon ng opportunity dahil itong leisure or travel ay lumalabas din sa survey namin na it’s one way of keeping people’s sanity (We just want to give them the opportunity because, according to our survey, leisure or travel is one way of keeping people’s sanity),” the tourism official said.

Bengzon was referring to “The Evolving Landscape of Domestic Travel in the Philippines” survey, which gathered inputs from over 7,000 respondents nationwide. The survey results are being used by DOT in creating guidelines that would help revive the tourism sector in the persisting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Called the “Walled City”, the historic Intramuros finally reopened its doors last Feb. 17. However, an age limit of 15 to 65 years old is being imposed on visitors, with the GCQ in the metropolis still in effect.

DOT Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat first floated the one-day, family day set-up last week after seeing that a lot of the returning visitors to Intramuros brought along their little kids, despite the existing prohibition.

As for questions of safety when it comes to the family day activity, Bengzon said it shouldn’t be much of an issue for as long as the attendees truly belong to just one household.

“In order words, magkakasama sila nitong mga nakaraang buwan. Basta huwag silang lalayo, kasama pa rin nila pamilya nila, masisiguro natin yung health and safety (In other words, they’ve been together these past few months. As long as they don’t stray too far and keep up with their relatives, we can assure their health and safety),” he said.