As COVID restrictions ease, Andanar urges public to 'rediscover' PH

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar encouraged the public to "rediscover the Philippines," saying the tourism industry plays a huge role in keeping the country's economy rolling.

Communications Secretary Martin Andanar - PCOO - FILE PHOTO - MANILA BULLETIN

Andanar made the statement as the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases eased more travel restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

In his radio program in State-run Radyo Pilipinas, Andanar said the pandemic allows the public to take a look at their surroundings with a "fresh pair of eyes."

"Maraming dahilan upang dalawin ang ating kinalalagyan (There are many reasons to visit our local places). We have so much to thank God for across our archipelago, " he said.

"Let’s revisit our country beginning with our own places and the places nearby and let’s rediscover the Philippines. I am almost sure that there is a lot more to it than we already know," he added.

To keep this possible amid a global health crisis, Andanar said it was necessary for the government to keep in touch with tourism stakeholders.

"Kailangan ng close coordination at kooperasyon ng lahat ng mga tourism industry stakeholders upang mapanatili ang public health and safety (The tourism industry stakeholders should have a close coordination and coordination to maintain public health and safety)," he added.

This month, the IATF has eased domestic travel restrictions by allowing leisurely trips from the NCR-plus area to areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) regardless of age.

The NCR-plus bubble area consists of Metro Manila and the nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal. It is under the GCQ with heightened restrictions until June 15.

In his press briefing on June 1, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said leisurely trips are allowed as long as travelers test negative for COVID-19 and will comply with government guidelines.

However, he said that such eased requirements would only apply to point-to-point travel.

Meanwhile, in NCR-plus, indoor tourist attractions would remain close while outdoor tourist attractions may accommodate up to 30 percent of the venue's capacity subject to minimum health standards.

Last week, the IATF has allowed establishments accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT) for staycation activities to operate at full capacity and forego requiring COVID-19 tests for guests.