Senator Nancy Binay on Saturday said that while Boracay was ready for its October reopening, tourists may still be discouraged from visiting the destination due to expenses from the health protocols.
"Siyempre nangingibabaw pa rin ang concern ko baka magkaroon ng outbreak uli ang virus but I think nasabi naman ni [Department of Tourism] Sec. Berna [Puyat] na in place naman ang kanilang health protocols at 'pag inisip mo naman ang health protocols, parang 'di ka rin gaganahan na pumunta," Binay said in a radio interview.
"Kung apat kayo, sa PCR test pa lang nasa P16,000 na ang magagastos mo, wala pa ang air fare at accommodation at ang tsansa mo na makuha ang virus malaki kasi lumabas ka na ng bahay mo," she continued.
The senator was also against allowing senior citizens and children at the tourist hotspot.
Binay urged the government to be "realistic" and cautious so as not to give the tourism sector false hopes that everything would return to normal.
"'Di magiging normal hangga't andito sa [COVID-19 pandemic], may mga empleyado na madi-displace, tulungan natin sila makahanap ng puwede nlang pagkakitaan dahil for sure baka 'di bumalik ang dati nilang kinikita. Baka for the meantime puwede sa program ng DA na magtanim, i-manage natin ang expectations ng mga kababayan natin," she said.
Some 35 tourists visited Boracay Island on the first day of its reopening, Puyat had said. The tourist spot was closed to visitors for almost seven months due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visitors to Boracay needed to secure a negative RT-PCR (nasal swab) COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours before the trip, book an accommodation with a hotel accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT), and register by filling out a health declaration form on the Aklan local government website to access a QR code for contact tracing if the need arises.
Puyat, however, assured the public that Boracay was prepared if a tourist exhibited COVID-19 symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19. — DVM, GMA News