A ranking official of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Region 7 has lauded the government’s tourism jumpstart program that would help to re-open the economy in the provinces amid the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Edward Du, the PCCI regional director for Central Visayas, in an interview Thursday, said the program of the Department of Tourism (DOT) will help provinces to boost farm and other forms of tourism, just like what is now being done in Negros Oriental.
The provincial government launched the project in the municipalities of Dauin, San Jose, and Pamplona.
Du, who is a past president of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NOCCI), said guidelines have been set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) and the DOT, which are cascaded to the provincial level.
Although this is just limited to travelers within the province, it aims to slowly re-open the economy, so businesses that have been hurting in the past months due to the pandemic can now begin to recover, he said.
The resumption of local tourism may not have much impact yet on the employment sector, “but it will now make people aware that they can now go out of their houses,” he added.
“Kay ang nahitabo mao nga mahadlok man ang mga tawo mugawas kay mao ra ug sa atong subconscious mind ni create ug thinking nga ayaw ug suroy (What happened was people are fearful to leave their homes because it is now in their sub-conscious minds not to get out),” Du said.
“That kind of fear will kill the economy if everybody stays home with that kind of mindset,” he added.
Jumpstarting the local tourism will hopefully tell the people that it is now safe to leave their homes provided health protocols are observed, especially if they see that the provincial government is now promoting it, he said.
“That effort, that initiative will slowly reduce the fear so that people will start thinking of going out (and) we can slowly but safely re-open the economy because we cannot continue to stay at our homes forever until there is a vaccine,” he said.
Du said businesses will continue to suffer losses while income earners such as tricycle drivers will also remain heavily impacted if people do not start to slowly return to the “new normal”.
That is why before the farm tourism program was launched, representatives from the province’s dive sector made representations with Gov. Roel Degamo in a dialogue recently to allow them to slowly re-open, he said.
The governor gave them the go-signal after assurances that protocols will be established by the local government units of Dauin and Zamboanguita, the province’s main areas for diving, Du added.
Dauin Mayor Galicano Truita and Zamboanguita Mayor Glenson Alanano issued their individual executive orders that stipulated guidelines for dive shops and scuba divers on the resumption of diving in their towns, which the provincial IATF had approved, he said.
Source: Philippines News Agency