Requiring tourists to present negative COVID-19 test results is the prerogative of mayors and governors, the Department of Tourism said Wednesday as it pushed for uniform travel requirements across the country.
While the national government favors common travel protocols, Tourism Sec. Berna Romulo-Puyat said local government cannot be compelled to do away with mandatory COVID-19 tests for tourists since the effects of the pandemic varies per locality.
"With regard to test before travel, we leave that up actually to the LGU kasi yung LGU ang nagdedesisyon," Puyat told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.
"You have to respect kasi the protocols of the LGU kasi alam naman nila yung cases sa kanila. Hindi ko puwede sabihin na huwag," she added.
Puyat said many tourists are discouraged to travel by the "confusing" requirements of different destinations as she noted that the tourism department only requires LGUs to check if tourists are staying in government-accredited facilities.
"Ang pabor kami is uniformity ng requirements," she said. "Sana iisa na lang para hindi nakakalito para sa mga nagta-travel."
The Department of the Interior and Local Government is also pushing for uniform protocols for local travel, including a proposal to drop COVID-19 testing as a requirement.
So far, Cebu province is the only local tourist spot in the Philippines that has dropped the COVID-19 test requirement for travelers.
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