The Puerto Princesa International Airport. | PN file photo

The Puerto Princesa City Incident Management Team (IMT) has no objections to the country’s relaxed protocols for inbound travelers, stating that it is about time the city finally reopened to restart the tourism industry.

Starting February 10, inbound travelers from visa-free countries no longer need to undergo mandatory quarantine in the Philippines, as long as they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have tested negative in an RT-PCR test. National government officials say this will hopefully encourage international tourists to visit again after the country was put on lockdown for nearly two years.

City IMT chief Dr. Dean Palanca said they welcome the relaxed protocols because it would mean the local economy will return to the way things were before the pandemic. He added that local COVID-19 cases have also been steadily going down, just as they had predicted when a surge started anew in January this year.

“Maganda nga ‘yan, kasi kailangan na talaga ng tourism industry at ng economy natin mag-recover. Pababa na rin ang ating cases, lampas na rin tayo sa plateau at pababa na,” he said in a phone interview on Thursday.

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Palanca added that there will be no changes in local travel protocols and that tourists are still expected to stay in the city for a maximum of four days, and must be fully vaccinated. Returning residents are also still required to undergo home quarantine for seven days, and must secure a negative antigen test 24 hours prior to their arrival.

Facility quarantine is only mandated for individuals who are visiting Puerto Princesa on official business for five or more days. Aside from the city government’s requirements, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) also mandates that all travelers should be fully vaccinated before entering any airport in the Philippines.

Palanca added that the City Tourism Office (CTO) is also gearing up for expected increased arrivals. The CTO also announced this week that more travel operators, agencies, hotels, and resorts have secured accreditation from both the CTO and the Department of Tourism (DOT), certifying that they are adherent to COVID-19 protocols and emergency measures.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.