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Subic Bay Freeport is open to tourists again, months after it closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, as Philippine authorities move to get the economy running further.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority administrator Wilma Eisma announced the development Friday, saying it's "very important to jumpstart" the country's economy, which shrunk in the second quarter and plunged into recession, following one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world to curb the spread of COVID-19.
"We implemented very strict health protocols. Alam niyo naman po sa Subic masunurin po tayo," Eisma told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo in an interview.
Tourists should be wearing face masks and face shields when visiting Subic, the official stressed.
"Nagtala na rin po tayo sa mga establishment ng mga social distancing marshalls," Eisma said. "We have what we call health protocol marshalls in, pretty much, every establishment."
Subic will allow tourists who reside in areas that are under the modified general community quarantine and who have health certificates each. For guests who wish to stay longer in the area, they will be required to get swab tests or RT-PCR tests.
"Kung kayo po ay pupunta dito ng 1 day lang or overnight, [bring] health certificate or itinerary kung saan kayo iikot para lang po malaman namin at masiguro ang iyong safety. Ngunit kung magtatagal po tayo ng 3 days and 2 nights -- kasi po bukas na po ang mga beaches natin, ang mga hotel natin, ang mga tindahan -- at baka maengganyo kayo mag-stay 3 days, 2 nights, kakailanganin po namin ng swab test or PCR," Eisma said.
She said Subic has a testing laboratory, which is provided by Red Cross, and quarantine hotels where guests will have to stay for isolation based on health protocols.
"Kung talaga pong may balak kayong mag-3 days 2 nights, meron po tayong designated quarantine hotels para pagka-test niyo, you can stay in the quarantine hotel," said Eisma.
Residents of Metro Manila and other areas under general community quarantine will still be required travel pass from their police precincts since it's mandatory, said Eisma.
Officials have been pushing for re-opening businesses and establishments in the country as much as possible without contradicting anti-COVID-19 policies, to help the economy recover from losses.
Tourism destinations in the Philippine were opened gradually since President Rodrigo Duterte approved lowering community quarantine levels in some areas last June. (ABS-CBN)