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Busuanga town will be re-opening for domestic travelers on November 16 more than seven months after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic shut down tourism operations in Palawan.

Allan Davatos, municipal tourism office (MTO) chief, said Busuanga is set to re-open domestic tourism following the easing of quarantine controls in the province by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) through the Department of Tourism (DOT).

However, Davatos warned accommodation establishments (AEs) against re-openning without getting their certificates of authority to operate (CATO) from the DOT as this will be considered “illegal”.

“Noon pa kami nag-announce, noong July sa halos 30 AEs natin sa Busuanga, pero apat lang ang nag-comply sa mga requirements na hinihingi sa kanila ng DOT at apat lang na AEs ang nabigyan ng CATO,” he said.

Davatos said that at present, only 4 AEs have been given their CATO by the DOT — Busuanga Bay Lodge, La Estancia de Busuanga, White Summerville Tourist, and Maria del Sol.

Around 25 AEs, he said, remain without their certificates of authority to operate.

The requirements for CATO are letter of intent to operate, a copy of DOT accreditation, and photographs of the facility incorporating the minimum health standards.

“Sa requirement na yan, titingnan doon ng DOT kung gagawa sila ng desinyo para sa health protocols sa pagtanggap ng guest, tapos letter of intent, at isasailalim sila sa virtual inspection ng DOT,” he said.

“Isa yon sa mga tinitingnan natin na baka nahihirapan sila magcomply so that is why mayroon lamang talaga tayong apat na AEs ang may CATO as of November,” he added.

Davatos said the four AEs with CATO are the only establishments they can recommend to future guests.