ASIDE from Baguio and Tagaytay cities, other tourist destinations in northern Luzon are set to reopen in October 2020.

To prepare for the gradual reopening of tourist areas, the Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield instructed all police commanders to coordinate with their respective local government units (LGUs) to plan early and ensure the safety of both tourists and residents.

Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, JTF commander, said the police must ensure a balance between the revival of the local economy and the health safety of the people in the light of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

“We leave it to the LGUs to craft and implement plans for their respective local tourisms. Local police commanders, however, must ensure that they are always updated in the planning and implementation,” he said.

Tagaytay City earlier opened its borders to tourists but only from areas under modified general community quarantine.

Baguio City is accepting up to 200 visitors a day from the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan.

Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong said they will be increasing the limit in the coming days.

Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc also said they were looking at opening their borders to the residents of Baguio City by October 1.

Ilocos Sur will also start accepting tourists from Baguio City and other neighboring provinces by October 1.

La Union and Pangasinan are looking at reopening tourism in mid-October upon the crafting of unified guidelines on online registration for the protection of both tourists and local residents.

Department of Tourism Regional Director for Ilocos Jeff Ortega said only open air destinations such as beaches will be allowed to open while indoor museums will be restricted.

In the Visayas, Boracay Island will start accepting local tourists by October 1.

Visitors are, however, required to present a negative RT-PCR result 48 to 72 hours prior to departure. They are also required to undergo strict quarantine immediately after a test and until the time of travel to the island.

National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 chief implementer Carlito Galvez said they were also looking into Bohol’s readiness for tourism.

Eleazar said reopening the local tourism industry is inevitable despite the continued threat of Covid-19. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)