Tourists visiting Boracay Island in Malay, Aklan are still required to show negative results of their swab tests, Malay Mayor Flolibar Bautista said yesterday.
Travelers are asked to meet the requirements of the local government unit even with the new protocols released by the national inter-agency task force to be able to go around the country.
In a phone interview, Bautista said travelers are still required to show a negative result of their reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) taken within 72 hours, secure a Tourist QR code and present a copy of confirmed booking with a resort or hotel accommodation.
“It is still the same, there are no changes in the requirements,” he said, adding that the purpose is for the safety of everyone.
However, he said that probably there might be changes in the coming days.
Bautista said a recommendation has been submitted to the Boracay Inter-Agency Task Force that, instead of a swab test, they will shift to the saliva test. “We are still waiting for the approval,” he said.
He added that he and Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores already discussed that they will “push for the saliva test and not swab test”.
Nonetheless, he said that even with the requirements, tourists visiting Boracay Island are increasing.
He added that once the saliva test is approved, then more tourists are expected to come in.
“A lot of our tourists are suggesting that we change the procedure to saliva,” he said.
Bautista said that over 100 tourists were found to have fake swab tests.
However, since Feb. 12, they have no report of tourists attempting to enter the island bearing fake RT-PCR results.
Those caught bearing fake results were made to undergo quarantine, face corresponding charges, and will be declared persona non grata.
Meantime, he said that they are waiting for the Executive Order to be released by Miraflores following their virtual meeting on March 2. During the meeting, mayors of the province of Aklan agreed not to lift RT-PCR as among the requirements for travelers visiting their areas.*PNA