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This Week in Palawan (May 8 to 14, 2022)

Palawan and Puerto Princesa are under Alert Level 1 until May 15.

By: Mira Maestrecampo | May 08, 2022
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Palawan and Puerto Princesa are placed under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, along with most areas in the country.

The national election is fast approaching, and so is the ongoing threat of COVID-19 as tourists in Palawan and one local crew tested positive for the virus.

Though there is a threat of a surge, vaccination and immunization of booster shots are still being pushed by the government, despite some areas in the country, particularly within the indigenous tribes being hesitant.

Quarantine News

Palawan and Puerto Princesa City under Alert Level 1

Palawan, and Puerto Princesa are among the 90 areas in the Philippines classified under Alert Level 1 effective May 1 until May 15, as announced by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

A new set of updated guidelines for the Alert Level 1 with amendments by the Inter-Agency Task Force has been released this February 2022. These protocols encompassing the Guidelines on the Nationwide Implementation of Alert Level System for COVID-19 Response shall be implemented and observed in Palawan and Puerto Princesa and other areas under Alert Level 1.

Individuals should still wear face masks in private and public establishments, public transportations, and outdoor and indoor areas. Work in private and public establishments can now operate at full capacity as long as staff and employees comply with the vaccination requirements needed for on-site work. Some workplaces can still opt for flexible and alternative work arrangements or between work-from-home or on-site work duty.

Off-site work duty in government offices shall be under work arrangements under rules subject to regulations issued by the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the President. Still, under the Alert Level 1 guidelines, government offices are now allowed to work on-site at 100% capacity.

Public transportation under Alert Level 1 is now allowed at full capacity.

Digital contact tracing in establishments is no longer compulsory, such as the StaySafe.PH application. The said app is optional for the use of establishments or agencies.

Isolation facilities are now not required.

Testing protocols under Alert Level 1 are still implemented but only to be administered as needed. Such protocols shall align with the national guidelines for those unvaccinated individuals or those individuals who have been exposed to COVID under IATF Resolution No. 148-B and No. 149, series of 2021. [1]

The RT-PCR testing shall be duly prioritized for senior citizens or individuals above 60 years old, persons with comorbidities, and healthcare workers. For other individual groups not mentioned, testing shall be optional.

Under Alert Level 1, foreign travel is also entirely welcome in the country. However, foreign tourists must comply with a negative RT-PCR test result taken 48 hours before departure. Foreign tourists should be fully vaccinated, and the point of origin belongs to 150 countries with visa-free arrangements.

Adults must have proof of full vaccination upon entry into indoor establishments such as dine-in services, restaurants, and eateries, personal care establishments such as salons, cosmetic services and the like, fitness gyms, venues for sports and exercise, movie houses operating at full capacity, conferences and social events, indoor activities, events that are election-related, religious gatherings, and neurological services. However, outside dining and takeout food establishments and stalls no longer require proof of vaccination.

Fully vaxxed tourists in Palawan test positive for COVID-19

On the flipside, 15 foreign tourists visiting Tubbataha Reef in Palawan tested positive for COVID-19 and were immediately brought to a quarantine facility in Puerto Princesa, Palawan. [2] This group of individuals who tested positive consisted of 14 tourists and one local staff of the yacht.

Travel Updates: An island in Palawan deliberated to be a tourist attraction

The town of Culion in Palawan is being proposed to be a new venue for further tourism development, which is still being deliberated by the Palawan council.

A Maldives-inspired resort is envisioned in Culion, Palawan, an island blessed with majestic beaches and historical landmarks. The said island is seen as a site with luxury resorts, cruise ships, and environmental and ecotourism activities.

The potential of the said island comes with a price. It is because most of the areas in Culion are under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources law and are considered forestland. [3] The island is home to numerous species of unique plants and animals and is regarded as one of the most biodiverse islands in the world.

Tourists can find endangered species in Culion, such as the bottlenose dolphin, the Philippine cockatoo, the blue-headed racquet-tail, and the Palawan hornbill.

The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development is authorized to protect Palawan’s rich biodiversity, with almost 11,209 hectares to be demarcated as ‘core zones’ based on the Environmentally Critical Areas Network map. Core zone means an area of ‘maximum protection'.

Vaccination Updates: Indigenous tribes refuse to be vaccinated, fearful of getting jabs.

Some tribes in the country or the indigenous people are ‘scared of injections’. [4] Indigenous people prefer to treat sicknesses with herbal medicines found in their lands. Refusing to be vaccinated is a common issue in these areas, especially with the lack of health education.

Some from their tribe are dying of being infected with COVID. It was expressed by Marcelino S. Tena, Dumagat community tribe leader from the south of Manila. Since the onslaught of COVID-19, Tena and his people were fearful of acquiring the virus. They don’t wear face masks, claiming that this is how they would stay strong.

On a grander scale, the government continues to work on inoculating more people as the country’s tourism and economy revive. It also works to protect its constituents from another surge.

Philippine Task Force for Indigenous Peoples’ Rights (TFIP) Program coordinator Roda Tajon said that people in most indigenous groups still follow the minimum health protocols. They are just contained within their area. With this testimony, she added that indigenous people are more secure in their communities and do not usually expose themselves outside, protecting them from illness and infections.

But, according to the United Nations, refusing to get vaccinated may be a threat during the pandemic time.

National Election News

Vaccination cards are not required on the 9th

May 9 is the official date of the national elections. Vaccination cards, face shields, RT-PCR test results, and antigen results are unnecessary for voters to vote in polling precincts.

The only requirement needed is the proper wearing of face masks, as signified by COMELEC IV-B Election Director Atty. Jose Nick Mendros. He added that based on the election guidelines, observing social distancing and proper wearing of face masks are the only requirements for an individual to vote in this election.

Also required with the implementation of minimum health protocols is the temperature check for each voting individual before proceeding to the polling precinct.

As for voting, individuals with COVID-like symptoms will be allowed to vote in the designated Isolation Polling Place just within the voting location. Individuals with high temperatures will also be led to vote in the Isolation Polling Place.

Liquor ban implemented before elections

A liquor ban shall be implemented in Palawan from May 8 to May 9, as mandated by the Commission on Elections. A local Palawan news source has confirmed through Jomel Ordas of the Provincial Commission on Election (COMELEC) that there would be a strict ban on alcoholic drinks before and during the election. [6]

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

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 is developing 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.


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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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