Have fun, stay safe! Guv Villa wants Siquijor reopened to tourists

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The island of Siquijor is looking to reopen its tourism industry as part of the local government’s recovery plan amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

Siquijor Governor Zaldy Villa underscored the province’s highly tourism-dependent economy.

“We have so many tourist spots here in Siquijor: the beaches, falls, and even a fish spa,” the governor said in a statement on Saturday, adding that opening the island to local tourists will help the province recover its economy.

The governor has released orders that will help manage the Covid-19 situation in the province like intensifying the implementation of minimum public health standards; new normal rules; and the approved health and safety protocols for the returning residents, overseas Filipino workers, and authorized person outside residence under the Department of Health (DOH) guidelines.

Villa also issued an executive order providing the discharge criteria for confirmed Covid-19 positives, either symptomatic or asymptomatic.

He requested the DOH to fast-track the establishment of a molecular laboratory for easier accessibility of Covid-19 testing to its residents.

“I am requesting from DOH to have a container (molecular) laboratory so that we can protect and have an RT-PCR or swab test and get results immediately,” the governor added.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar earlier assured that a molecular laboratory will be established in the province through the efforts of Senator Christopher “Bong” Go as chair of the Senate committee on health.

This was echoed by Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas Assistant (OPAV) Secretary Gerald Anthony Gonzales, who also assured OPAV Secretary Michael Dino’s full commitment to help improve the lives of those affected by the Covid-19 crisis in the province. (PNA)