Tagaytay City, could be a blueprint for revival of local tourism-JTF COVID SHIELD Chief

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The Joint Task Force COVID Shield and the City of Government of Tagaytay have strengthened their coordination for the proper implementation of the travel and other quarantine protocols as the latter opened its borders for tourists to revive the local economy.

On Saturday, Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, Commander of the JTF COVID Shield, met with Tagaytay City Mayor Agnes Tolentino and discussed plans and measures to manage and control the entry as well as the movement of tourists to ensure that both the local residents and visitors will remain protected from the coronavirus infection amid the re-opening of Tagaytay City for tourists.

“Since Tagaytay City is the first Local Government Unit (LGU) which opened its borders for tourists across the country, Mayor Agnes Tolentino and I both agreed to put things in order to ensure that the local police and the City Government will not be overwhelmed by the possible influx of tourists in the coming days,” Eleazar said.

“The JTF COVID Shield and the Office of Mayor Tolentino are now working together to turn Tagaytay City as a pilot or model area for all the LGUs that are planning to also open their borders in order to boost local tourism,” he added.

The intention is to make sure that the travel and other quarantine protocols that would be implemented are aligned with the guidelines of the National Task Force on COVID-19 chaired by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana while giving the LGUs the discretion to find ways to reboot their respective economy amid the adverse economic impact brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Eleazar said that the re-opening of Tagaytay City means that people from any part of the country can now visit the area without Travel Authority except for those who live in areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or higher community quarantine status.

For her part, Mayor Tolentino welcomed the visit of Eleazar and said the presence of the JTF COVID Shield commander and PNP-HPG Director, Police Brigadier General Eliseo Cruz is a proof that Tagaytay City is all set for the arrival of tourists.

“We assure the national government through the NTF on COVID-19 that we will be in constant coordination with the JTF COVID Shield to make sure that everything will always be in place in ensuring the proper balance between the need to revive our economy and the health safety of both our visitors and the people of Tagaytay City,” Tolentino said.

“Let this serve as a strong message not only to the people to Tagaytay City but also to the Filipino people that the coronavirus will never break our spirit and determination to heal as one nation and bounce back,” she added.

The lady mayor said that among the health safety protocols that they would strictly implement is the wearing of both face mask and face shield and the observance of the proper physical distancing.

Eleazar and Tolentino led the inspection of various areas like the Sky Ranch and Picnic Grove that are among the favorite destinations of tourists in Tagaytay City before the coronavirus pandemic.

Also present during the inspection were local police commanders of Cavite and Tagaytay City.

Eleazar said the presence of the JTF COVID Shield and the PNP-HPG here also serves as proof that there was never a misunderstanding between the JTF COVID Shield and the local officials of Cavite in its decision to open its borders for tourists.

“The Joint Task Force COVID Shield is here to express support not only to Tagaytay City but also to the Provincial Government of Cavite to revive the tourism provided that it will not sacrifice the health safety protocols,” Eleazar said.

“This is the same kind of support that we extended to Cebu City when it required our assistance to address the rising number of coronavirus infections before. Since the NTF on COVID-19, the JTF COVID Shield and the City Government of Cebu worked together to contain the spread of the virus, we all succeeded in bringing down COVID-19 cases in the area,” he added.

Eleazar earlier emphasized that only those coming from areas under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) or no community quarantine status are allowed to enter the Tagaytay City without the need for a Travel Authority.

“Local tourists who would come from areas under the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) and Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) are still required to secure a Travel Authority,” Eleazar said.

Currently, Metro Manila, Batangas, Bulacan and Tacloban City are under the GCQ. Iligan City, Bacolod City and Lanao del Sur, on the other hand, are under MECQ.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who is also the Vice Chairman of the National Task Force

on COVID-19, emphasized the importance of acting in accordance with the travel protocols in order to protect the LGUs concerned from the coronavirus mass infection.

“While the LGUs under MGCQ or no community quarantine status are given the discretion to decide on whether or not they would open their areas for tourists and other travelers for the purpose of reviving their economy, the rules from the IATF must still be adhered for the protection of their own people,” Año said.

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