Here’s some good news for domestic travelers! To restore confidence in safe travel and support the gradual reopening of specific domestic travel destinations, the Department of Tourism (DOT) will be subsidizing 50 percent of the P1,800 cost of RT-PCR testing cost administered by the PGH, bringing down the cost to just P900 for qualified Filipino tourists.
The DOT through the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) Philippines has signed a deal with the University of the Philippines – Philippine General Hospital (UP-PGH) to subsidize the COVID-19 swab tests of qualified tourists. According to DOT, the high cost of getting Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction or RT-PCR RT-PCR tests is one of the major deterrents preventing people for traveling, but presenting negative results is a requirement to visit many destinations around the country that have reopened.
To avail of the DOT-TPB 50% COVID-19 RT-PCR test subsidy, tourists are advise of the following guidelines to facilitate the arrangement for pre-scheduled swab testing:
Five (5) days before the intended travel date, the tourists must register online at https://www.tpb.gov.ph/rtpcrphtravel and indicate a travel destination that is declared open to leisure tourists and attach supporting documents.
Supporting documents required
- Copy of a valid government-issued ID
- Copy of a confirmed hotel booking
- Copy of roundtrip transportation ticket if applicable (airline/bus tickets)
The Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) shall evaluate the documents and inform the tourist of the status of application within a reasonable time.
How many people can be accommodated per day?
UP-PGH can only accommodate to conduct 100 COVID-19 RT-PCR tests per day. Thus, applications will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
Tourists with approved applications will receive an email from UP-PGH to access the online Client Investigation Form: https://cif.pgh.gov.ph for the tourist to full up properly and completely.
Once the CIF has been submitted, UP-PGH will notify the tourist of the schedule for swab testing. Only those who have submitted the CIF online and who have received confirmation of swab test schedule will be accommodated. Walk-in requests shall be strictly denied.
What to do during date of test
Tourists with approved applications must be at the testing center of UP-PGH on their confirmed date of swab testing. Failure to show up on the scheduled date would forfeit the 50% COVID19 RT-PCR subsidy.
UP-PGH shall send the COVID-19 RT-PCR test result directly to the tourist via email within 24 hours.
This program aims to restore confidence in safe travel and support local tourism after some of the tourist destinations in the country have reopened.
Tourist destinations that are now welcoming leisure tourists include Boracay, El Nido, Baguio, Coron, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Siargao and Bohol. Because RT-PCR test is too costly for most Filipino tourists, the subsidy will aid qualified domestic travelers in getting an RT-PCR test which is one of the primary travel requirements when visiting many of these destinations in the “new normal”.
The subsidy will only be available to 11,000 domestic tourists only, so those who want to take advantage of it should plan their trips early.
Here’s a flowchart to understand the entire application process better.
How much does the RT-PCR cost?
Private clinics and facilities charge anywhere from P4,000 to P13,000 for RT-PCR tests depending on the turnaround time. Most destinations require results taken 24-72 hours prior to departure.
The subsidy program will help make the swab test more affordable for Filipino travelers who have been eager to go out and travel to different tourist destinations after several months of staying at home due to the community quarantine.
Even if you don’t get the subsidy, the full cost of P1,800 from UP-PGH is much more affordable than what private clinics are offering. But if your application is approved, you will only have to pay P900.
Other hospitals with RT-PCR tests that cost less than P2,000
Aside from UP-PGH, here’s a list of other clinics that offer RT-PCR tests that cost only between P1,750 to P2,000:
- Philippine Children’s Medical Center- Quezon City
- Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital- Caloocan City
- Jose B. Lingad Memorial General Hospital- San Fernando, Pampanga
- Perpetual Help Medical Center- Las Piñas City
- National Kidney and Transplant Institute- Quezon City
- Lung Center of the Philippines- Quezon City
- Western Visayas Medical Center- Iloilo
- Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center- Cebu City
- University of Cebu Medical Center- Mandaue City
- Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center- Tacloban, Leyte
- Baguio General Hospital- Baguio City
- Zamboanga City Medical Center- Zamboanga City
- St. Paul’s Hospital- Tacloban, Leyte
- Teresita L. Jalandoni Provincial Hospital- Silay City, Negros Occidental
- Cebu Molecular Laboratory- Cebu City
According to news reports, the government hopes to bring down the price of RT-PCR testing to around P500 once it starts pooled testing.