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THE Department of Tourism (DOT) announced on Tuesday (June 2) that it would resume subsidizing the 50 percent Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) testing for qualified domestic tourists, through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, the marketing and promotions arm of DOT, the agency said in an advisory.

The announcement came following the decision of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow leisure travel for persons of all ages between the NCR Plus bubble and areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the move is expected to further help bring the tourism industry back to its feet.

The Philippine tourism industry has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The subsidy aims to encourage domestic travel by aiding the tourists in fulfilling the RT-PCR test requirement, and to enable them to visit their destination of choice at a lesser cost,” Puyat said.

She stressed that the increased number of travelers could help boost consumer spending, which in turn could hasten economic recovery.

We at the DOT are doing whatever we can to help the industry and its stakeholders recoup their losses and ensure security and sustainability amid this pandemic,” she added.

The TPB has an agreement with two government hospitals and their accredited COVID-19 laboratories for the subsidized RT-PCR testing program — the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.

Domestic tourists who meet the basic requirements of having confirmed round trip transportation tickets and a booking confirmation with a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment are qualified for the program.

The subsidy program costs P35.17 million for the whole year.

The current agreement of the TPB with the UP-PGH and PCMC runs from January to June 2021, with the UP-PGH and PCMC receiving Php 9.99 million and Php 8.70 million, respectively, benefiting 22,711 domestic travelers.

The TPB is set to ink a new Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the PCMC to extend the RT-PCR Subsidy Program from July 1 to December 31, 2021, to benefit 13,333 local tourists.

To apply for the 50% RT-PCR test subsidy for tourists, visit: https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/

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