Gov't to subsidize 11,000 RT-PCR tests for local tourists

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 15) — The Department of Tourism and the UP-Philippine General Hospital signed a memorandum of agreement Tuesday to subsidize the RT-PCR tests of 11,000 local tourists.

The DOT said the program could cover a larger number once additional funds come in.

"Today's MOA signing is another concrete measure to further assist those who are already very eager to travel again," Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said at a virtual briefing. "Through this memorandum of agreement, the Department of Tourism through the TPB (Tourism Promotion Board)...will provide UP-PGH with funds amounting to P9,999, 900 for the purpose of subsidizing the RT-PCR tests of approximately 11,000 domestic tourists to make travel more affordable for Filipinos."

In a statement, the DOT-TPB said the partnership will subsidize 50% of the P1,800 RT-PCR testing cost administered by PGH.

Puyat added, to qualify for the subsidy, tourists must register at the TPB website five days before their scheduled departure date and submit the following documents:

- a copy of a valid government ID

- a copy of confirmed accommodation booking

- proof of transportation ticket for the appropriate mode of travel

Those with approved applications will receive an email from UP-PGH to be informed of their test schedule.

UP-PGH director Dr. Gerardo "Gap" Legaspi said results will be available after 24 hours and will be sent via email.

"As UP-PGH can only accommodate to conduct 100 RT-PCR tests per day, applications will be attended to on a first-come, first-served basis," according to the statement.

Legaspi added there is no age limit for those who want to avail of the subsidy, but they ask the ages of those who want to be tested as there are age-appropriate swabs, adding they cannot use adult swabs on newborns, for instance.

DOT said for now the UP-PGH is the only partner for this program, but they are looking at other hospitals to possibly expand to other areas.