Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019   •   1092

El Nido Lagoon in Palawan

MANILA, Philippines – Top tourist destination El Nido in Palawan will not be closed to tourists despite decision to extend rehabilitation works in the island.

The rehabilitation program is managed by an interagency task force composed of the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources, the Interior and Local Government and Tourism.

On August 4 a 20-day inspection and investigation will commence to determine the owners and which establishments are non-compliant to the environmental law and hold no necessary permits.

Those who fail government auditing will be ordered closed.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año noted however, that it would be impossible to demolish all structures established within the 20-meter easement zone.

“What we want to promote are the islands of El Nido,” Año said.

“Doon dapat pumunta ang mga tourist doon sa sentro (Tourists should be led to the city center). It’s more on commercial ang lodging, accommodation for the tourist,” he added.

Meanwhile, several areas in Bacuit Bay were declared ‘no swimming zone’ due to contaminated water and because the structures there were already by the beach.

These areas are the Corong-Corong Outfall, El Nido Estero Outfall, Masagana Outfall anf Cabugao Outfall.

“Ang Corong-Corong Outfall, ang fecal coliform is now at 99,315. Ang normal is 100, (Corong-Corong Outfall’s fecal coliform (level) is now at 99,315. The normal level is (only) 100,)” noted Tourism Secretary Bernadet Romolu-Puyat.

“Maiintindihan naman nila siguro kung bakit bawal mag swimming, (They would understand why swimming is banned),” she added.

Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu stressed that this effort of the government is a way to protect the area and so as not to worsen pollution problems in the island such as what happened in Boracay.

“We will continue to stop this because we cannot allow na mag-deteriorate ang El Nido (to deteriorate) into another Boracay,” Cimatu said.

According to DOT, there are about 200,000 tourists that visit El Nido every year. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

DOT announces Boracay now open to youths, seniors from Western Visayas

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 24, 2020

The Department of Tourism (DOT) has announced that young and senior tourists from Western Visayas are now allowed to visit Boracay Island.

Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said Boracay will reopen for tourists, ages below 21 and above 60, from Western Visayas.

“This move aims to further reinvigorate the tourism economy in the region and address the earlier clamor of Boracay tourism stakeholders to attract more tourists to the island,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday (July 23) approved the DOT’s recommendation to lift the ban on tourists below 21 and above 60 on Boracay island.

Puyat assured the government will continue to put the safety of the public first and will strictly implement health and safety protocol as the island reopens. She also noted that there were no reported coronavirus (COVID-19) cases on the island.

“The DOT will always put paramount concern on the safety of our people — tourists and residents alike,” she said. AAC

Palawan hailed as ‘Best Island in the World’

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 10, 2020

Palawan is again hailed as the “best island in the world,” by international travel magazine Travel+Leisure.

“It’s dramatic at sea level, with mountains rising directly from the ocean palm-edged beaches. Though it’s difficult to reach from many parts of the world, once travelers get there they can dive in World War II wrecks, explore old-growth rain forests, and paddle one of the world’s longest subterranean rivers at Puerto Princesa,” according to Travel+Leisure magazine.

The magazine released its Top 25 Best Islands in the world on Wednesday (July 9), in which Palawan ranked first with a score 94.83. This is the fourth time the island topped the list.

One of the fans wrote, “The landscape and scenery are just gorgeous. It offers the most beautiful beaches, resorts, and scenery anywhere.”

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism celebrated Palawan’s recognition. DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said that the “rehabilitation and sustainable development efforts last year, especially in El Nido and Coron, were well-received by tourists everywhere.” AAC

DOT to mount sweeper flights, grant one-time cash aid to stranded local tourists

Robie de Guzman   •   April 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) is set to mount sweeper flights for “qualified stranded local tourists” in provinces who wish to return to the National Capital Region (NCR).

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said the sweeper flights will assist stranded local tourists whose trip back to NCR was canceled due to the implementation of the community quarantine against the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The facilitation of sweeper flights developed after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) authorized the DOT to undertake measures to help domestic travelers affected by the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.

“This is a positive development that will complement our on-ongoing efforts in the Department to assist qualified stranded local tourists, which include the provision of one-time financial assistance,” Romulo-Puyat said in a statement.

The DOT chief said a local tourist may be eligible for the assistance if they are registered with the Regional Tourism Office and has a confirmed land, air, or sea return ticket to their province or city but was canceled due to the ECQ.

As of April 28, there are 2,392 listed domestic tourists stranded in different regions.

The DOT urged stranded local tourists to coordinate with the Tourism Regional Office near them for the schedule of the sweeper flight. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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