Top News Philippine govt offers free swab tests for domestic tourists By TTG Asia / Posted on 1 November, 2021 12:39 Qualified domestic tourists in the Philippines can now obtain free Covid-19 PCR swab tests at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) starting November 1. The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) said in a statement that the initiative is part of its efforts to promote the country as a safe tourism destination and hasten the recovery of the tourism industry. Tourism Promotions Board’s subsidy programme will benefit more than 12,000 local tourists “As travel restrictions continue to ease up, we aim to encourage more tourists to visit their destination of choice by providing a full subsidy on RT-PCR testing. This programme helps ensure the safety of tourists, tourism workers, and local stakeholders in various destinations”, said tourism secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat. TPB’s partnership with PCMC was first rolled out in December 2020, where they covered 50 per cent of the hospital’s swab testing cost. More than 15,000 tourists availed of the subsidy programme from January to June this year. In June, the second phase of the programme was implemented covering July to December 2021. This has now been amended to cover the full cost of the PCR tests – or a total amount of 1,500 pesos (US$30) per test – with a cap of 350 approved applicants per day. The programme is set to benefit more than 12,000 qualified domestic tourists until the end of the year, said TPB.