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Department of Tourism guarantees safety of tourists in Bohol

by UNTV News and Rescue   |   Posted on Friday, April 21st, 2017

MANILA – The Department of Tourism (DOT) held a closed-door meeting with the private sector in the tourism industry.

This is to address concerns on the security of tourists especially of foreign nationals who wish to spend their vacation in Bohol.

The issue came after the encounter between alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and government troops last week.

The DOT assures it is safe to travel to Bohol with the implementation of strict security measures in the province which is among the venues of the 2017 ASEAN meetings.

DOT Undersecretary Benito Bengzon Jr. said the number of tourists in the country remains high despite trip cancellations from Japan, China and Korea.

In fact, USec. Bengzon said, a high-profile Japanese TV Production crew is set to shoot videos of scenic views in Cebu.

“Just to assure you that there is a group in Cebu and again we see this as a strong sign of confidence in our destinations,” he said.

DOT is also coordinating the Japanese prime minister for the issuance of a travel advisory that it is safe to travel to the Philippines especially in Bohol.

“Like the Japanese ambassador, he told me, ‘Write me a letter. Tell me what you want and then I will send that letter to Japan for them to tell the residents, the Japanese tourists, to travel to the Philippines because it is safe’,” Department of Trade and Industry Sec. Wanda Teo Tulfo said.

There has been coordination with the United Nations World Tourism Organization to lift the travel advisories in the country.

“The travel advisories have been a problem of the country every time there is kidnapping somewhere in the Philippines. There have always been travel advisories saying it is not safe to travel in the Philippines. So he told me…as the Secretary General of UNWTO, can call the embassy concerned and tell them to lift the travel advisory,” Sec. Tulfo added.

The Department of Tourism is confident that the department will reach the targeted 8 million tourist arrivals this year. —Aiko Miguel | UNTV News & Rescue

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Cabinet to discuss final decision on Boracay closure

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

BORACAY ISLAND, one of the most visited destinations in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — The  Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department of Tourism (DOT) have already submitted to Malacañang the detailed proposal in the closure of Boracay Island starting on April 26.

The said recommendation of the inter-agency task force aims to give way to the extensive clean-up drive on the island.

Through a text message, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra stated that the final action on Boracay would be likely discussed at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

As for the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), the agency believes it would best if its closure would just take place during lean months or low season.

In this way, the establishments or workers on the island would not be severely affected.

“Una, nirekomenda namin na simulan ito sa lean months. Ibig sabihin, magkakaroon talaga ng pagbaba sa empleyo—ang mga seasonal employment sa lugar. Ikalawa, nirerekomenda namin na ang bilang nga mga manggagawang ito sila ang maaaring isama sa paglilinis,” said NEDA Usec. Rosemarie Edillon.

(Firstly, we are recommending to start this in the lean season. That means there will be a drop in the employment—the seasonal employment in the area. Number two, we are also recommending that these workers be involved in the clean-up drive.)

Meanwhile, the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) and Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) Region 6 has begun  creating a contingency plan for the forthcoming shut down of the island.

Dir. Jose Roberto Nuñez said they are already preparing for the mitigation plans to whatever would be the outcome of the interagency’s recommendation on the Boracay closure.

“If the president will say, ‘I will totally close that,’ if ever, then meron na tayong preparation (we would already have some preparation),” said the director.

“We could mitigate ang effect niya sa (its effect on) livelihood sa (on the) business sector,” said RPOC chair Gov. Samuel Gumar

If the island would be totally shut down, 79,182 individuals and over 36,000 jobs might get affected.

This is apart from the million peso revenues in the island that has been gone. — Robbie De Guzman | UNTV News & Rescue

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AFP WestMinCom confident of Abu Sayyaf collapse

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2018


In a statement, Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) commander Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said that the unified command is confident that the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) will soon collapse based on the continuous surrender of its members.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Mindanao Command appreciates the continuous surrender of Abu Sayyaf terrorists.

Among the latest surrenderers is Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) sub-leader, Nhurhassan Jamiri; the group’s overall commander in Basilan. He also served as the operations officer and chief of the urban terrorist group in Basilan.

Along with 13 of his comrades, Jamiri turned over a number of high-powered firearms to the military.

Jamiri surrendered two days after President Rodrigo Duterte visited Sulu to urge members of the ASG to surrender. He also vowed to provide housing and livelihood aid to surrendering bandits.

Speaking before 76 ASG surrenderers in the province, the president reiterated that he has no grudges against the terrorist group.

He also expressed willingness to talk to the Abu Sayyaf.

“I’m not dreaming. Only those who would want to surrender. Those who would want to fight, wala naman tayong magawa. Sabihin mo, ‘Huwag’, kung gusto niya wala ka ring magawa,” Duterte said during his speech in Sulu.

(I’m not dreaming. Only those who would want to surrender. Those who would want to fight, we can’t do anything about them. Even if you tell them “Stop”, there’s nothing you can do if they don’t want to.)

Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom) is confident that the bandit group’s leadership will soon collapse based on the continuous surrender of its members.

“We are indeed seeing the eventual collapse of the group, as what our Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana had said in his earlier statement,” WestMinCom Commander Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. said.

Galvez added that Jamiri’s surrender proves that President Duterte’s strategic guidance and the diplomatic approach of the armed forces are key factors in winning the campaign against Abu Sayyaf extremists.

Based on records of the military from January to the present, 60 ASG members have surrendered; 13 have been arrested, including ASG sub-leader Walton Juljirin who was caught last Saturday; and 11 have been killed.

Two years into the Duterte presidency, the military has already neutralized three Abu Sayyaf leaders. They include: Abu Rami who was killed in Bohol; Alhabsy Misaya in Sulul; and ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon who was slain in Marawi. — Dante Amento | UNTV News & Rescue

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DILG probes use of collected Boracay environmental fees

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2018


Boracay Island

MANILA, Philippines — After the Building Code of the Philippines and the Fire Code of the Philippines found out about the environmental law violations of business establishments in Boracay Island, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is now investigating how environmental fees collected from local and foreign tourists who entered the island were used by the local government of Malay.

Authorities uncovered the 10-year collection made by the Malay LGU from 2008 to 2018.

The Malay government charges tourists who enter Borcacay P75 each.

Based on the figures of the Department of Tourism (DOT), 2-million tourists visited Boracay last year.

The number is higher than the 16 percent recorded in 2016.

The investigation of the DILG revealed that a local ordinance issued by the Malay LGU mandates the environmental fee collected in Boracay be transferred to the province’s general funds.

This means that aside from maintaining the orderliness of the island and protecting its environment, the LGU may use the amount for any program or activity it may conduct or implement.

The DILG may file charges against the officials of the city once they are proven to have committed anomaly in the use of the said environmental fee.

“If there are people who are liable officials local or even national [they] should be identified and cases [should] be filed against them,” said DILG-6 regional director Atty. Anthony Nuyda.

On the other hand, the local government of Malay said that it is open to any investigation regarding its use of the said fund.

“We have not been hiding anything since we have no problem with COA,” Malay LGU executive assistant Rowen Aguirre said. — Marje Pelayo | UNTV News & Rescue

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