Press Release
June 23, 2020


With the international tourism industry facing its biggest slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic and anticipating that there would be a mad scramble to recover once travel restrictions are eased, Senator Richard J. Gordon said the Philippine Red Cross is set to put up molecular laboratories in the country's tourism hubs to pave the way for the reopening of the tourism industry.

Gordon, a former Secretary of Tourism who is also the chairman and CEO of the Philippine Red Cross, said the PRC will open testing centers in Boracay, Bohol, Palawan and Siargao to enable them to advertise that workers and residents there have been tested and cleared of infection so tourists could come in.

"Gaya sa Subic and Clark, maglalagay din kami ng testing equipment sa Boracay, sa Bohol, sa Palawan at sa Siargao. 'Pag na-test natin lahat ng empleyado roon at gagawin namin 'yan, lahat ng mga tao dito, ite-test natin then we can advertise to the whole world, we have tested all the employees here, we have tested everybody here so now you are welcome to come down. And jobs can be generated right away here," he said.

After inaugurating the laboratories in Clark and Subic, Gordon stressed that testing will not only allow for infected people to be separated from those who are not so they won't infect them but it would also enable people to get back to their jobs faster.

"I emphasize this - the logic behind the testing is that we can separate the people who are sick from the people who are not sick so they won't contaminate. But the more important reason is - if we are able to do that, we can get our jobs back faster. Bagsak na ang ekonomiya natin, kailangan ma-test natin sila agad para makapagtrabaho na sila ulit," he said, adding that tourism will also provide jobs.

The PRC head further pointed out that with access to reliable and fast testing and with preventive measures in place, there would be minimal chances of further spreading the disease in the said areas.

"Kapag may mabilis na testing centers doon sa mga lugar na 'yun, pagdating sa airport ite-test agad ang mga incoming travellers at ilalagay sa quarantine para hindi magkakaroon ng pangamba ang mga residente na baka mahawa sila. We have to ensure victory over COVID at kailangan din nating pasiglahing muli ang ating ekonomiya," Gordon said.

"We do not want a system where people rely on government. Without jobs, people will keep getting money from the government. That is the worst thing that we can do to our country and it's been happening for some time. Now we're going to get out of it," he added.

The United Nations World Tourism Organization has warned that international tourism is set to fall by 70% this year, marking the sector's biggest slump since records began in the 1950s, based on the assumption that countries around the world would gradually open their borders from August.

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