DOT, TPB continue subsidized COVID testing program for travelers

Domestic tourists will continue to enjoy affordable reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests as the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) are set to roll out the second phase of its subsidized coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing program for the sector.

(Jansen Romero / File photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

This, after the DOT and its attached agency, the TPB renewed their partnership with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) to implement the second phase of the subsidized testing program for domestic tourists.

The two agencies first signed the agreement with PCMC in December last year to subsidize 50 percent of the hospital's RT-PCR testing cost.

Data from the DOT showed that more than 15,000 domestic tourists were successfully swabbed through the agreement from January to June 2021.

With the first agreement set to expire soon, TPB Chief Operating Officer Maria Anthonette Velasco-Allones and PCMC Executive Director Julius A. Lecciones signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in a virtual ceremony for the implementation of the program's second phase.

The Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) renew their partnership with the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) for the second phase implementation of the subsidized swab testing program for domestic tourists. (Photo from the DOT and TPB)

The new pact will still cover 50 percent of RT-PCR testing cost as administered by the PCMC. It will be rolled out from July to December 2021 and is expected to benefit a total of 13,333 qualified domestic tourists.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the move is part of the department's strategic plans to market and promote the country as a safe tourism destination amid the ongoing pandemic.

"This program is just one of the strategic steps that DOT and TPB are working on as we gear toward ecovery, and pave the way to safe and gradual reopening of tourism destinations," Puyat said.

"We are pushing for these initiatives to help our economy recover and we are optimistic that more industry stakeholders, local government units and agencies will work hand-in-hand with us on this endeavor," she added.

To avail of PCMC's 50 percent testing cost subsidy, travelers must first register online here to pre-schedule their test.

They will be asked to submit requirements such as a valid government-issued identification card, proof of hotel booking in a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment, and proof of mode of travel such as airline or bus ticket.

The tourism agencies reminded interested travelers that PCMC will accept RT-PCR test applications on a first-come, first-served basis.

Aside from PCMC, the DOT and TPB also partnered with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) last year for the subsidy program to encourage more domestic tourists to travel and gradually revive the country's tourism industry.

Under the agreement, the TPB shoulders 50 percent of the original price charged by the PCMC and UP-PGH for RT-PCR tests--cutting the fee to just P750 and P900, respectively.