15 months after the government declared various lockdown protocols across the country, traveling on board a motorcycle to enjoy the beauty of the country is still quite difficult due to the various protocols being observed by different LGUs like the mandatory RT-PCR tests prior to entry.
Now, travelers, especially motorcycle riders like us, can take advantage of the government’s 50% off program on COVID-19 tests for qualified tourists, the Department of Tourism reports.
Through this program, tourists may get tested for a low price of PhP900.00 from the University of the Philippines - Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) in Manila and PhP750.00 from the Philippine Children's Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City.
To qualify, travelers must have confirmed round-trip transportation tickets and booking confirmation with a DOT-accredited accommodation establishment. Granted, it means we won't be able to take our motorcycles, but there are many travel destinations that do rent out motorcycles.
Tourism secretary, Bernadette Romulo-Puyat, is optimistic that this move would 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 (reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction) test requirement, and to enable them to visit their destination of choice at a lesser cost,” Romulo-Puyat said.
Before getting tested at a discounted price, tourists must first register through this portal: https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel/.
The government initially funded UP-PGH with close to PhP10-million while PCMC got PhP8.7-million for the RT-PCR test subsidy. According to the DOT, the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) and PCMC are scheduled to sign another memorandum of agreement to extend the initiative from July 1 to December 31 this year, to benefit at least 13,333 local tourists.
The entire subsidy program costs PhP35.17-million of taxpayer’s money for 2021.