Coron, Palawan | File photo by Celeste Anna Formoso


The Department of Tourism (DOT), in partnership with the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH), is looking at subsidizing about half of the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test costs for tourists traveling domestically, as the test-before-travel rule now becomes the new normal for leisure trips.

In a television interview on Tuesday, Tourism chief Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the agency is eyeing to ink an agreement with the UP-PGH to cut by 50 percent the RT-PCR test cost originally priced around PHP1,800 to PHP1,900 per person.

“We’re looking at how to probably make travel vouchers because while PHP1,900 is already low-priced, we still want to make it more affordable. So we’re looking at making it sort of subsidized, 50 percent of the RT-PCR in UP-PGH,” she said in Filipino. “I’ll tell you about it once it’s finalized. But as it is, with UP-PGH it’s already P1,800, and results come out in 24 hours.”

Romulo-Puyat said the DOT wants the people to be able to travel, especially with the upcoming Christmas holiday.

She acknowledged that the cost for Covid-19 test is quite “prohibitive”, but noted that it is a requirement that cannot be taken out.

“The cost is prohibitive pero ‘di naman natin pwedeng tanggalin ang test before travel (but we cannot remove the test before travel). So when I found out about the UP-PGH, (we decided) we’re going to have a government-to-government agreement with them,” she said. (PNA)