Interventions readied as Boracay closure looms

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  • The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will seek P300 million out of the P2.3 billion  allotted for the rehabilitation of Boracay for various interventions to assist businesses displaced by the six-month closure of Boracay starting Thursday.

    The private sector meanwhile has made available 4,000 wide ranging jobs for those who will be displaced with the closure of Boracay.

    Lopez told reporters P100 million is needed for straight loans for alternative livelihood for the entrepreneurs of which P50 million will be the first tranche.

    The rest of the funds

    According to Lopez, there are some 430 companies engaged in gifts and souvenirs which the DTI will assist either by helping them to relocate their businesses to other tourists spots; sell their products in malls or even change business altogether.

    The loans will be interest free for two years.

    Lopez hopes the first batch of loans would be approved in a month.

    Beyond Boracay

    One Boracay composed of the Tourism Congress of the Philippines (TCP), Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) and the Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA) as key members along with local tourism stakeholders in Boracay, is also set to expand its advocacy of preserving the island to include some of the other prime tourism destinations in the country.

    “There will be groups like the one we have for Boracay in other destinations that are under intense scrutiny or those that are being threatened to be closed by the government.  We have One Boracay now.  There will be One Bohol, One Puerto Galera, and One Palawan very soon,”

    TCP president Jose Clemente III said while adding that all tourism stakeholders in the country are now more united than before.

    PTAA president Marlene Dado Jante said they will exert efforts to avoid having other destinations suffer the same fate as Boracay.

    “We want the government, in the future, to first consult with all stakeholders and incorporate our ideas before executing any actions that will affect tourism destinations and the industry itself on multiple levels.  The government should understand that we are the ones on the ground and that we have a clear understanding on how the industry works,” Jante said.

    Both Clemente and Jante said that had government given more time before shutting down Boracay, all stakeholders would have been better prepared during its six month closure.

    One Boracay does not want a repeat of the current high state of confusion in Boracay because of the haste at which the government wants to implement the closure of the island.

    The TCP, created under Republic Act 9593 or more commonly known as the Tourism Act of 2009, is mandated to act as the private sector consultative body to assist the government in the development, implementation, and coordination of Philippine tourism policy.

    The PTAA is the biggest grouping of tourism stakeholders in the country and has been a leading partner of the government in the promotion and development of Philippine tourism while the HSMA seeks to advance sustainable revenue growth for the hotels and resorts industry and contribute to the robust growth of Philippine tourism.

    Jobs available 

    Meanwhile, One Boracay is offering 4,000 jobs to those who will be displaced with the closure of the island.

    The job openings are spread across key cities across the country including Metro Manila, Bohol, and Palawan.

    Additionally, according to Jante, they will also request their more than 600 members nationwide to offer at least two job openings, even temporary, to those who will become unemployed due to Boracay’s closure.

    “This will be on top, on what we, as One Boracay is offering.  We want those workers to remain gainfully employed and capable of providing for their families until Boracay reopens,” Jante said.

    Next month, members of One Boracay will meet to map out a marketing plan for the reopening of Boracay including multiple promos for November onwards.

    Force majeure

    Sherwin Gatchalian, Senate committee on energy chairman,  has urged the Aklan Electric Cooperative, Inc. (AKELCO) to invoke force majeure to avoid passing on extra power charges to its consumers during the impending six-month closure of Boracay Island.

    “The closure of restaurants, resorts, and other commercial establishments on Boracay Island during the effectivity of the closure order will not only result in the loss of jobs. It will also drive down the demand for electricity in AKELCO’s franchise area, as these commercial establishments account for 41 percent of the electric coop’s power demand,” Gatchalian said  in a statement.

    From a high of 28 megawatts (MW), Boracay’s energy demand will drop to as low as 4 MW during the closure period.

    Malaya

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