By: Bon Pugal
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, LA UNION – The Department of Tourism Regional Office I, under the directive of DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat and Regional Director Joseph Francisco “Jeff” Ortega, has assisted a total of 100 stranded tourists, mostly foreigners, in the region.
As of March 28, 2020, of the 100 assisted, 27 were able to return home to their respective countries, 57 are still in the country currently being assisted by DOT R1 personnel, 16 of which decided to stay in the country and opted to return home after the Enhanced Community Quarantine.
Tourists who sought help through the Department of Tourism were provided assistance and guidance on rebooking and coordinating for rescue flights with the help of the Region 1 Travel and Tour Agencies Association. Free transportation to airports, and support in securing necessary clearances and documents, were also done in close coordination with the respective Provincial and Local Government Units where tourists can secure health certificates prior to leaving their point of origin.
“I applaud all the efforts made by our LGUs and industry partners in our region in these uncertain times. It has not been easy on any of us but despite the situation, we have remained to be steadfast in making sure that stranded tourists and OFWs get home safely to their families abroad. The Department of Tourism has tirelessly worked alongside LGUs through their Tourism Officers both in the frontlines and as we work from home. I also would like to thank the Philippine National Police Regional Office 1 led by Regional Director Joel Orduna for keeping the peace and assuring our tourists safe passage,” – Regional Director Joseph Francisco R. Ortega, DOT R1
With the declaration of the Enhanced Community Quarantine in the entire Luzon island amidst the global health threat of the pandemic brought about by COVID-19, the Department of Tourism assures all its stakeholders that we continue with our mandate in providing necessary and timely assistance.
To further our assistance to stranded tourists within the Ilocos region, the DOT Regional Office 1 has put up its own Online Tourist Assistance Help Desk which can be accessed at: www.dotregion1.com. You may also reach us through our Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/DOTRegionOne/ , and through cellphone numbers (+63905)3538880 and (+63918)5962408.