The tourism department has given its go signal for the reopening of tourism activities in San Vicente to local travelers, according to Governor Jose Alvarez.

In a Laging Handa PH public briefing aired Friday by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO), Governor Alvarez said the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Department of Tourism (DOT) had already agreed to reopen San Vicente.

Earlier, the DOT said part of its protocols to allow the reopening is that tourism establishments, such as hotels, pension inns, and lodging houses should obtain their certificates of authority to operate or CATO.

“Dahan-dahan na po ito. Yong TIEZA, yong Department of Tourism, nagbigay na rin ng go ahead sa San Vicente. Meron ng mga businesses doon na binigyan ng license to operate,” he said.

Aside from CATO, San Vicente Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone administrator Engr. Bernardo Alarilla said Tourism-Related Enterprises (TRES) should also secure their business permits from TIEZA by virtue of an agreement signed with it by local officials in March 2015.

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Coron reopening

Alvarez said the reopening of Coron’s tourism to domestic travelers will have to wait due to a surge in COVID-19 local transmission cases.

“And then yong Coron… pagka-zero COVID na yong Coron… kapag yong ilang asymptomatic na naka-quarantine [ay gumaling na] ay buksan na rin natin yon,” Alvarez said.

In September, Alvarez said they are targeting the reopening of tourism hubs in Palawan before the end of the year to jumpstart its economy that has been affected by COVID-19.

He said the opening will be gradual and tourist entry will be limited.

“When we say kailan natin buksan ang San Vicente, ang El Nido, at saka ang Coron, buksan na natin yan dahan-dahan, padatingin na natin in such a way we have to live under new normal,” he said.

Inter-municipal travel

In mainland Palawan, he said that inter-municipal travel is continuing since the coronavirus disease’ impact “minimal”.

Dito naman sa mainland, continuous naman yong ating inter-municipality travel, hindi naman yon natin hinihigpitan kasi alam naman natin na very mild lang ang effect nitong COVID dito sa lalawigan ng Palawan,” he said.

Dito sa lungsod ng Puerto Princesa, medyo nag-spike ng konti — may mga localized lockdowns sila dito sa Puerto Princesa, ngunit matutugunan namin ito in the hope that at the end of the year, controlled na controlled na yong covid sa PPC atsaka sa buong probinsya ng Palawan,” Alvarez added.

To ensure local tourists are safe, Alvarez said before arrival, or within 72 hours, they have to be subjected to RT-PCR testing and other necessary measures to make sure they are not carriers of the virus.

“Sila ay dapat subjected to RT-PCR… masuwerte ang Palawan… sabi mo nga mas malayo kami sa Metro Manila, matagal makarating dito yong transmission. Na-i-stop naman namin yong flights noon, ngayon binuksan na namin, yong mga airlines mismo ay maingat na maingat sila na hindi sila magdadala ng COVID dito,” he said.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.