Goodbye Manila Bay crushed dolomite and hello to the real thing, indeed, as Manileños and those from locked down areas beyond Western Visayas can now experience Boracay's white sand anew.
On October 1, Wednesday, the island opened to tourists hailing from areas put under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
The government has allowed this, provided that tourists pass a COVID-19 test before traveling. This follows the latest Resolution No. 74 the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) has issued.
The IATF stressed that the traveler's negative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test result must be within 48 hours prior to travel date.
It also declared the Godofredo R. Ramos Airport in Caticlan as the only port of entry for tourists arriving by air. The unit reiterated the presence of a central point to screen tourists including those arriving by land or sea.
Roque said that to impede any brewing or loose COVID-19 case, “minimum health and safety guidelines as well as emergency response protocols must be in place, and a COVID-19 Laboratory in the locality must be operational."
The Boracay rehabilitation task force has previously approved Aklan local government’s recommendation to reopen the country's most popular beach destination. That time, it only welcomed tourists from the Western Visayas region.
The reopening of the internationally acclaimed Boracay is part of the national government's efforts to reopen the economy, as President Rodrigo Duterte is set to drive it up amid the pandemic.
The Philippines plunged into recession second quarter this year at 16.5%, its steepest drop recorded. It remains on lockdown 200 days and counting, among the longest in the world.