Gov’t extends rehabilitation works in El Nido

Marje Pelayo   •   August 2, 2019   •   1062

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 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.)

Gov’t, private sectors unite to bring over 10,000 foreign tourists to NAIA, Clark Int’l Airport

Maris Federez   •   March 25, 2020

Passengers rush to catch last plane out amid lockdown in the Philippines (19 March 2020)

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT), together with several government agencies and various domestic airlines, have joined forces to ferry more than 10,000 foreign tourists from different parts of the country to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and Clark International Airport.

This measure is aimed at assisting these foreign tourists who were stranded in the country due to the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine to be able to go back to their respective countries.

DOT Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said this will help lessen the stranded tourists in the various islands in the country.

“The Department of Tourism has been doing everything within its resources to ease the congestion in the different regions by facilitating the movement of foreign tourists stranded in the different islands of the country,” Puyat said in a statement.

Over the weekend, 7,915 tourists were brought to the two airports through the sweeper flights of different domestic airlines, such as Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia, and Air Swift, as well as chartered flights.

DOT regional offices also assisted the stranded tourists in Luzon via land transport.

The Philippine Coast Guard, on the other hand, helped ferry those in Bohol, Siquijor, Negros, and Cebu through inter-island vessels.

Shuttle services and hotel accommodations were arranged for several stranded tourists who were also given free foods and hygienic items while waiting for their flights at the NAIA.

Other sweeper flights were also used for those in Iloilo, Tacloban, and Cagayan de Oro.

Three more sweeper flights are also being prepared for the others in Davao and Puerto Princesa to be transported on Thursday (March 26).

Two sweeper flights are also scheduled for tourists on Boracay island for transportation on Thursday, and four more over the weekend. — (from the report of Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

DOT postpones nationwide mall sale to prioritize safety of citizens

Maris Federez   •   February 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Saturday postponed the nationwide mall sale portion of the 2020 Philippine Shopping Festival until further notice.

The DOT’s statement released on Saturday (Feb. 29) said the decision was brought about by the alarming rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections all over the world that occurred in the past few days.

The agency said the move prioritizes the safety of its citizens more than visitor arrivals and revenue.

The tourism department also said that it has coordinated with the mall establishments and is thankful for their support on the decision to postpone the nationwide sale to a later date for the safety of their customers.

It added, however, that the malls are still free to continue its day to day operations.

The DOT also recommends that malls follow the precautionary measures set by the Department of Health (DOH) such as checking the temperatures of mall-goers before allowing them to enter and the provision of more hand sanitizers in their premises.

“As much as we want to mitigate the economic impact of the COVID-19, the safety of our citizens remains our priority. We advise the general public to maintain proper hygiene and follow the guidelines set by the Department of Health to contain the spread of the virus,” said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat.

It can be recalled that during the Alert Level 4 phase of the Taal Eruption, the DOT also recommended to cease the operations of all tourism establishments in the affected areas in the interest of public safety and welfare. — /mbmf

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