Mindanao Times

PH green-lights big events amid COVID-19 fears

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MANILA-- The Philippine government on Tuesday has given the public a green light to attend and hold big events in the country as long as health measures are followed amid the coronaviru­s disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak.

“The Department of Health (DOH), DepartMANI­LA-ment of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Department of Tourism (DOT) would like to assure everyone that it is safe to organize and attend public gatherings, meetings and festivals as long as all precaution­ary measures identified by the DOH are

observed,” the three agencies said in a joint statement dated February 18.

This came after the DOH earlier recommende­d the cancelatio­n of gatherings that draw huge crowds to further minimize the risk of contractin­g the disease.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on Tuesday said the clarificat­ion bodes well with the tourism industry, particular­ly the Meetings, Incentives, Convention­s, and Exhibition­s (MICE) sector.

“The MICE business has a long value chain involving the accommodat­ion, transporta­tion, food, recreation, and retail sectors. It is critical that MICE events already firmed up for the year continue to be mounted with the DOH protocols strictly heeded,” she said.

Although the country’s tourism industry is reeling from the outbreak’s impact, Romulo-Puyat said the safety of the public remains a priority of the government.

“We encourage event planners and organizers to be more circumspec­t and to implement the guidelines prescribed by the DOH. Equally important is the role of the DILG and the local government units in enforcing and monitoring the implementa­tion of the said guidelines to ensure the safety of our guests,” she added.

In the joint statement, the DOH advised the public to regularly wash hands and to seek medical attention if signs of cough, cold, sore throat, and fever appear.

Prior to travel restrictio­ns, the DOT had already issued guidelines to tourism enterprise­s in handling guests amid the global health emergency. (PNA)

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