DOT eyes subsidizing RT-PCR test cost of tourists

The Department of Tourism (DOT) eyes subsidize 50 percent of the RT-PCR or nasal swab test costs of tourists.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Tuesday DOT plans to sign an agreement with the UP-Philippine General Hospital (PGH) for RT-PCR test at P1,800.

Puyat said this would encourage more tourists to visit vacation destinations nationwide.

“We are looking to tie up with UP-PGH. Government-to-government agreement. Worth P1,800 ang RT-PCR test, results will come out in 24 hours,” Puyat said in an ANC interview.

“We are also looking at making travel vouchers para mas mura, isa-subsidize namin ang half of the P1,800 cost ng RT-PCR test since most of the destinations require a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test result 48 to 72 before arrival,” she added.

Puyat earlier called for uniform protocols in local government units when it comes to regulating tourism destinations.

She also said the DOT already released P10 million from Bayanihan 2 to subsidize the RT-PCR test of Boracay’s tourism employees.

“Sa ganoon po, hindi po mag-aalala ang ating tourism workers and tourists are also assured that the tourism workers who are in close contact with them are COVID-19 free,” she pointed out

Also read: DOST: Mass COVID-19 vaccination may start by June-July 2021

DOT eyes subsidizing RT-PCR test cost of tourists

“When we do tourism [protocols] correctly, we bring back jobs,” Puyat added.

Last week, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced that the price cap for or nasal swab test for COVID-19 should be from P3,800 to P5,000 at the maximum.

Duque said that the price cap, outlined under the Joint Administrative Order of the health and trade departments, sets the price cap of the RT-PCR test at P3,800 for public testing centers and P4,500 to P5,000 for private hospitals and laboratories.

The  chief said establishments caught violating the price cap would have their license to operate suspended for first and second offenses, while a third offense would mean revocation of license.

RT-PCR, or real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, is considered the gold standard for testing possible COVID-19 infection.

As of November 30, the Department of Health recorded 1,773 additional new cases of COVID-19. Meanwhile, 44 recorded while 19 died.