(MNS Photo)

MANILA, July 14 (Mabuhay) — It is up to local government units (LGUs) to require full vaccination or RT-PCR COVID-19 test from travelers, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Wednesday.

“That is what the [Inter-Agency Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases] gave. It is for the LGUs to decide either fully vaccinated or as an alternative to an RT-PCR swab,” Puyat said.

She said the current government policy is “either/or” and it does not require both.

“LGU knows the cases, how to handle, and how many hospitals they have in their own destination,” Puyat explained.

She noted that some LGUs prefer fully-vaccinated tourists coming into their localities but they want more local residents to be immunized against COVID-19.

“You don’t only protect the tourist but also the locals,” she said.

Apart from this, Puyat also highlighted the need to verify the vaccination status of a traveler.

“The LGUs want to have the way to authenticate [the vaccination]. Kung ang RT-PCR nga napepeke, ito pa kaya,” she said.

Over the weekend, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei Nograles urged LGUs to hasten the encoding of vaccine recipients’ information in the verification database system created by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT).

Last week, Malacañang already announced that LGUs have the discretion in requiring RT-PCR testing or accepting duly issued COVID-19 vaccination cards for allowed interzonal travel.

The IATF earlier eased travel restrictions on fully vaccinated  individuals by requiring only an authentic vaccination card instead of a negative COVID-19 test.  (MNS)

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