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This Week in Boracay and Iloilo (March 27 to April 2, 2022)

Boracay and Iloilo are under COVID-19 Alert Level 1

By: Mira Maestrecampo | March 27, 2022
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Boracay and Iloilo City are now classified under Alert Level 1, the lowest alert level classification. The country is expected to fall under this alert level by the following months. On a brighter note, Boracay has recorded a high number of travel visits for the past weeks, hitting the pre-pandemic number of Boracay tourists that went to the island. Fuel prices have finally rolled back, benefiting drivers and car owners. Limited face-to-face classes are also anticipated in some areas, even though some students are still unvaccinated.

As tourists are expected to flock this summer, the tourism sector announces and reminds hotel establishments of updated guidelines on accommodating guests, particularly room capacity.


Quarantine News: Alert Level 1 or Alert Level 0?


Aklan, including Boracay and Iloilo City, is currently placed under Alert Level 1 until March 31.

This alert level classification is the lowest classification under the guidelines of the government’s nationwide alert level system implemented all over the country. Under the implemented alert level system, indoor and outdoor capacities no longer have restrictions. Travel within intrazonal and interzonal boundaries is now allowed regardless of age or comorbidities.

All activities and establishments in areas under Alert Level 1 are permitted to operate at full capacity, as long as these establishments and undertakings adhere to the minimum health and safety protocols. As Iloilo City and Boracay welcome the de-escalation of its respective alert level status, acrylic and plastic barriers may now be taken down, wearing face shields is no longer needed. The S-PaSS requirement is no longer required for travelers will now be scrapped.

As the government anticipates the nationwide implementation of the Alert Level 1 status, a health official noted that areas should be downgraded to Alert Level 1 first for the government to impose a lower risk classification. [1]

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire expressed that the government anticipated that all provinces and highly urbanized cities would be classified under Alert Level 1. The alert level status will then be implemented on a general nationwide scope. [2]

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases or IATF-EID is currently studying the Alert Level 0, not an official term yet, but further planning and discussing this implementation is still in talks between the government and authorized health sectors.

The Alert Level 1 status and wearing of face masks in most areas in the Philippines would be still likely to continue until the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, as also announced by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III. Duque’s proposed regulation of not wearing face masks under the lowest alert level classification is still ‘premature’. It would be too early for such implementation. The Health Secretary also expressed thoughts that the country’s assurance of staying under Alert Level 1 status is still a blur because of continuous discoveries of mutations and more variants of the virus, which also caused multiple surges in other parts of the world. [3]

Currently, 47 areas nationwide are under Alert Level 1, including Aklan, Boracay, and Iloilo City. Under the ‘new normal’ set up in most country areas, economic recovery is also improving, and everything is gradually back to normal, still with full precaution and eased restrictions.



Travel Updates


Boracay reaches a pre-pandemic number of tourist visits this summer.

Boracay is currently hitting a high number of Boracay tourist visits, going its pre-pandemic number of arrivals, a significant mark in the continued easing of travel restrictions in Boracay, and the downgraded alert level on the island.

The average daily arrivals and number of Boracay tourists peaked at 4,575 recorded arrivals within the first week of March. [4]

With the expected influx of tourists, airline and travel operators are opening more flights, especially in Boracay, following the anticipated ease of travel restrictions next month. Travel operators shall have more charter flights bound to hot spot tourist areas, particularly Boracay.

Travel restrictions are expected to be more lenient this April 1, aiding the economy and tourism sector of the Philippines to recover.

As Boracay tourists are expected to flock this summer, the Department of Tourism (DOT) now permits full room capacity in accommodation establishments such as hotels and resorts in areas under Alert Level 1, Alert Level 2, and Alert Level 3 classification. Several complaints have been reported regarding how guests cannot share rooms if they come from different households. [5]

DOT clarifies that establishments in areas under the mentioned alert levels may accommodate business and leisure hotel guests in full room occupancy. They strictly adhere to proper health and safety protocols whether they come from different households.

A new road in Boracay Island opens to the public.

The 1.4 km road project connecting two entry and exit points in Boracay launched last week, joining the Cagban Port and Tambisaan port to the famous island.

The road is part of the Boracay Circumferential Road Project, now connecting away from Cagban Port, where most tourist boats enter, to Boracay Island. The Tambisaan Road, on the other hand, is opened for use to the public during monsoon season or whenever waves are too high.

Acting Secretary Roger Mercado represented on behalf of the Department of Public Works and Highways or DPWH during the inauguration and official opening of the said road project.



Vaccination Updates


Study on unvaccinated children

Studies in Texas have recently shown that most unvaccinated children lacked antibodies after COVID19. During the investigation, it was found that after recovering from SARS-CoV-2 infection, unvaccinated children and individuals under the adolescent age gaps lacked antibodies in their blood.

Children aged 5 to 19 recovered from COVID19 infections as subjects, and 90% were unvaccinated during the study. [6]

Vaccination is not mandatory for the resumption of limited face-to-face classes.

On the other hand, 14,000 schools have been tallied and qualified to be ready for the limited face-to-face classes this year. Department of Education Assistant Secretary Malcolm Garma says that DepEd continues to list more qualified schools to partake in limited face-to-face classes. [7]

The assistant secretary notes that these schools will still need the approval of their respective local government units before they conduct the face-to-face classes. Parents of the students also have the option to choose distant learning.

Garma also said that in participating in the face-to-face classes, vaccination is not mandatory for the students and the children. Meanwhile, 90% of the teachers are already fully vaccinated. [8]


Shopping Updates: Food and boutique stalls at Festive Walk Iloilo


Festive Walk Iloilo has opened its colorful Garden Atrium with various food stalls and boutique shops. Mall goers and shoppers can enjoy local and affordable products from food, clothing, jewelry, bags, shoes, accessories, etc.

The Garden Atrium at Festive Walk Iloilo is open from 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM, and everyone can visit and purchase unique finds while stalls and boutique displays last.



National Election 2022: Election campaigns ongoing


Regarding Duterte’s administration ending in a few months, election and campaign season is currently ongoing, observing the new normal setups in campaign rallies. As election season goes on, the Commission on Elections or COMELEC no longer requires campaign permits in areas with Alert Level 1 and Alert Level 2 classification. COMELEC Commissioner George Garcia announces this, also clarifying that securing a permit from respective local government units is still needed.

Campaign rallies in Alert Level 1 can be undertaken at full capacity, while only 70% capacity is allowed in areas under Alert Level 2. [9]


Consumer News: Oil price rollback hailed


On the other hand, drivers gladly line up at gasoline stations to avail the price rollback of PhP5 to PhP11.45 per liter.

As of writing, oil companies that have announced their price rollback were Caltex, Cleanfuel, Flying V, Petro Gazz, Petron, Phoenix, Seaoil, Shell, Total, and Unioil. [10]


Visit Yoorekka Magazine for more travel and COVID-19 updates and guidelines in Boracay and Iloilo!


All details and information in this article are true and accurate as of the publication date. However, while we are making our utmost effort to keep our content as up-to-date as possible, the condition surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be unpredictable, and the situation develops rapidly. Hence, some information and recommendations may have changed since this article was published. For the latest advice, visit DOH and your LGU's official websites.



Sources:
[1] https://bit.ly/3L5u6Ns
[2] https://bit.ly/3L5u6Ns
[3] https://bit.ly/3wv6DkH
[4] https://bit.ly/3LgtJ2V
[5] https://bit.ly/3JCzVSl
[6]https://bit.ly/37MgMza
[7] https://bit.ly/3JAP2eN
[8] https://bit.ly/3JAP2eN
[9] https://bit.ly/36FoEC3
[10] https://bit.ly/36Id5dx


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About Mira Maestrecampo
Mira - with a long surname - is a girl who dreams of becoming a news anchor someday, in God's perfect time. She loves to read books and eat different kinds of cheesy or saucy food. A coffee addict and a dog lover, she loves long hugs, hot coffee on an afternoon break with friends, or simply sleeping all day with her stuffed unicorns.
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Disclaimer: All articles in the Consumers Magazine of Yoorekka are for general information and entertainment purposes only. Although careful research has been made in writing them, Yoorekka does not make any warranty about the completeness and accuracy of all information presented in our articles. Our content is not intended to be used in place of legal, medical, or any professional advice.
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