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DOT-TPB inks MOA with UP-PGH to subsidize RT-PCR testing cost for tourists

To restore confidence in safe travel and support the gradual reopening of specific domestic travel destinations, the Department of Tourism (DOT), through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines, has partnered with the University of the Philippines- Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) to subsidize 50 percent of the Php 1,800 RT-PCR testing cost administered by PGH.

The program was initiated to aid about 11,000 qualified domestic tourists in getting an RT-PCR test as a requirement to visit their destination of choice and increase domestic travels in the country.

In a virtual contract signing held on December 15, 2020, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the DOT and TPB continue to work hand-in-hand with tourism industry stakeholders, local governments and other national government agencies to facilitate the reopening of tourist destinations that have put in place safety and health protocols.

“Domestic tourism benefits a country in a number of ways. It brings immense opportunities for all, particularly generating jobs and creating entrepreneurial activities to help our economy recover, apart from enabling us to rediscover our pride of place and culture when we visit our diverse sites and enjoy the re-calibrated products offered by our destinations,” Romulo-Puyat explained.

“I encourage our kababayans to book their travels now, and hope that this initiative will break the barrier for our domestic tourists to actually make plans, especially in this Christmas season,” she added.

As the country gradually reopens several destinations with eased travel restrictions for local tourists, strict health protocols have been enacted by the Inter-Agency Task Force Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID) to prevent the further transmission of the COVID-19 virus. One of which is the issuance of a negative Real-Time Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test result by tourists before and travel.

Secretary Romulo-Puyat noted that this subsidy project, with allocation of Php9,999,900.00 is aligned with TPB’s Safe Bangon Turismo campaign and is expected to stimulate domestic travel to destinations declared safe by the IATF and DOT such as Palawan, Boracay, Bohol, Baguio, and Ilocos Norte.

To avail of the test’s 50% subsidy, the tourist must register at five days before the scheduled departure date, and submit a copy of a valid government-issued ID, a copy of a confirmed accommodation booking and proof of transportation ticket for the appropriate mode of travel. Tourists with approved applications will receive an email from UP-PGH to access the online Client Investigation Form: and be notified of their swab test schedule. 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.

TPB is an attached agency of the Department of Tourism, mandated to market and promote the Philippines domestically and internationally as a preferred tourism and MICE destination that prides itself with diverse and fun travel experiences.

(Featured photo of Penaranda River taken from

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