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DOT slams critics of new star rating system for hotels, resorts

MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Tourism (DOT) has expressed dismay over the case filed against them by a resort in Cebu following the implementation of the new star rating system for hotels and resorts in the Philippines.

Plantation Bay Holdings Corp., owner of the Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan Island, filed a case before the Office of the Ombudsman against DOT secretary Ramon Jimenez Jr., Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin, Accreditation Division head Jose Tolentino and the agency’s foreign consultants for the alleged arbitrary and capricious implementation of “an unnecessary star grading system for Philippine tourism enterprises.”

“It is sad that somebody who does not believe in the system will go all out to destroy the system. I don’t understand why they came out without even talking to us. Probably because they did not get the rating they want,” Jasmin said.

She also slammed statements from hoteliers and resort owners that there was no prior consultation on the star rating system.

“The set of standards for the new star rating system was formulated in 2012 after a series of consultations with resorts, hotels, tourism stakeholders and tour operators across the country,” she added.

Jasmin, who is spearheading the new rating system, also addressed the issue of the DOT obtaining grants from the Canadian government to cover the expenses of the program.

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“We never got a single centavo. It is ADB (Asian Development Bank) who got them. We have a program with ADB CIDA (Canadian International Development Agency) worth $7 million but it’s not only on accreditation. There’s human resource development and regulatory impact assessment,” Jasmin explained.

On the other hand, Jasmin noted the complaint filed against DOT would not affect the announcement of the star rating system in October or November this year.

Jasmin also clarified there is no such thing as “downgrading” various hotels and resorts following the issues on the new system.

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