The Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield Commander Police Lt. General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, in coordination with the chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) General Camilo Cascolan, ordered all police commanders to start coordinating with the Local Government Units (LGUs) for possible re-opening of tourist spots in their respective Areas of Responsibility (AORs).
Lt. Gen. Eleazar said the re-opening of Tagaytay City and the Baguio City to local tourism could be a motivation for other LGUs to open their borders to local tourists in order to spur the local economy which have suffered from the impact of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).
“Early planning is essential in the success of local tourism. As police commanders, we have the obligation to ensure that there must be a balance between the revival of the local economy and the health safety of the people in this time of pandemic,” Eleazar said.
The Provincial Government of Cavite earlier opened its borders to all Tagaytay City-bound tourists for as long as the visitors would come from areas under the Modified General Community Quarantine and lower quarantine status.
Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong, on the other hand, also opened the borders of the City to tourists from Region 1 but limited the number of visitors to only 200 per day initially. Mayor Magalong, however, said that they may increase the number of tourists in the coming days.
Eleazar stressed that spurring the local tourism is inevitable despite the continuous threat of COVID-19 in order for both local and national government to revive the economy that was severely affected by the pandemic for more than six months now.
He said that even President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, through the Department of Tourism has been taking into consideration the economy of the country in every decision he makes in terms of the response to the COVID-19.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, however, stressed that local tourism must always be in line with the existing guideline of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) and the National Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana.
But Año said that the NTF on COVID-19, wherein he is the Vice Chairman, has been very supportive of the move to revive tourism in the country.
Año has already met with Department of Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat for the re-opening of Boracay.
Based on the IATF Guideline, only areas under MGCQ and lower quarantine status are allowed to open their borders to tourists.
Eleazar said police commanders should be involved in the planning of the local tourism in order to ensure that both the security and health safety of the residents and tourists would be guaranteed.
“We leave it to the LGUs to craft and implement plans for their respective local tourisms. Local police commanders, however, must ensure that they are always updated in the planning and implementation,” Eleazar stressed.