Malacañang on Friday said President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the gradual reopening of the tourism sector, but directed government agencies to institute health and safety protocols first.

“The president’s marching order is to gradually reopen the economy, including the tourism sector, with the assurance that health and safety measures are in place,” Palace spokesman Harry Roque said in a statement. 

Roque said the Department of Tourism has been coordinating with local government units (LGUs) to determine what tourism operations to allow.

The spokesman cited Baguio City’s scheduled opening of a tourism bubble on Sept. 21, which aims to accommodate visitors from La Union, Pangasinan, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

“We must, however, emphasize that there must be proper and close coordination between the national government and the LGUs regarding the implementation of health and safety protocols when travelling,” Roque said.

Under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ), tourism operations are allowed at half capacity. They remain barred in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).

Only Metro Manila, Bulacan, Batangas, Tacloban City, Bacolod City (GCQ) and Iligan City (modified enhanced community quarantine) are not under MGCQ.

As of Sept. 4, 232,072 Covid-19 cases have been recorded in the country. John Ezekiel J. Hirro