By Ric Obedencio | 02:47 AM August 07, 2022
Capitol officials led by Gov. Aris Aumentado tackled the overpricing hullabaloo in Virgin Island, a sand bar off Panglao town, where vendors set up makeshift tents offering food stuff to visiting guests.
Aumentado told Bohol News Today that the issue of overpricing of goods and services has been tackled during the strategic planning activity held at South Palms resort where heads of offices and Sangguniang Panlalawigan members led by Vice-Gov. Victor Balite converged on August 4 to 6, 2022.
He said that the outcome of the strategic planning will be the basis for policy-making and probably for the SP to craft an Ordinance regulating tour operations.
He pointed out that not only the overpricing of food stuff offered in said island but all other services, including the fat commissions of the van drivers ferrying tourists and the resorts or restaurants’ pricing.
The governor said that he legislative measure and its implementation will be done fairly, stressing to protect both the guests and the tourism-related business.
He said he will see to it that what transpired in said sand bar will not happen again.
The governor said he will make no-nonsense move to ensure that tourism industry and the environment are protected.
Thus, he called all the stakeholders, the officials concerned and the people in general for their cooperation and support for this mission.
In earlier interview, Aumentado said that if the vendors or stakeholders are slowly making a dent of what the nature has given us Bohol’s tourism may be adversely affected.
Provincial Board Member Atty. Jamie Villamor said that the SP on Tuesday approved a resolution creating a task force for fact-finding on the alleged incident on overwhelmingly high prices of food sold in Virgin Island in Panglao town.
Villamor, who authored the resolution and chairperson of Environmental Committee, said Bohol is confronted with a tourism-centered issue involving alleged complaint.
“We are not only confronted with tourism issues, we are confronted with socio-economic issues which I fear would result to what is called the tragedy of the commons wherein the people will exploit the area based on their own interest and deplete the resources, ” Villamor said during her privilege speech.
Provincial Board Member Tita V. Baja personally visited Panglao and found that the sandbar vendors have no business/mayor’s permit to vending there.
Baja, the new majority floor leader and tourism committee chairperson, said in media interview that the vendors are paying Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). It was not clear whether the fee is for use or occupancy of the sandbar.
She also said that Panglao mayor made the personal inspection of the place and investigation of the overpricing of foodstuff.
Baja referred to the Committee of the Whole of the SP the Virgin island issue.
Closure Panglao Mayor Edgardo “Boy” Arcay personally visited the said sandbar and reportedly found that indeed overpricing of food offered for sale is excessive. He immediately ordered for the stoppage of the makeshift vending in sand bar.
The following day (August 2, 2022) the sandbar looks like a “virgin” again, where nothing is seen selling foodstuff. The mayor allowed visitors only to sightsee.
The mayor’s move reportedly came after the governor strongly recommended for the closure of the vending there and that vessel’s ferrying of guests on that island strip be stopped temporarily.
Both moves was an offshoot of the excessive payment of foodstuff ordered by a Leyte-based group of visitors that was posted on facebook and thereafter it gone wild and divide fb users.
A total of P26,100 for the seafood and drinks the group ordered was paid. The food included: Abalone for P2,500, tinolang isda for P1,800, kinilaw’ng isda for P3,000, sinugba’ng isda for P2,500, scallops for P3,000, oyster (P3,000), squid (P2,500), lato (P800), baby squid (P1,500), sea urchin (P2,300), banana (P900), softdrinks (P1,300), and beer (P1,000). (rvo)