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DOT must help to enhance tourism industry

I read a copy of the letter of Mr. Roberto “Bobby” Joseph, president of the Network of Independent Travel and Allied Services Inc. (NITAS) to Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez seeking to have a dialogue between the travel industry and the Department of Tourism (DOT) on the controversial issue of the DOT’s Hotel Ratings program because we are the only nation on this planet except Ireland that has a government-run program to rate its hotel and restaurant industry.

I hope that in the interest of the Tourism industry we shall see this issue resolved soon. Meanwhile, I retrieved this message from Mr. Bobby Joseph from his Facebook page, which read, “DOT and Hotel Owners Association of the Philippines have come to an agreement for regular dialogue and refinements on the implementation of the rating system a few days ago. We are glad with these developments. Regular communications with stakeholders is always expected for a better tourism industry. One issue our organization will tackle is the 7 million dollars grant given by the Canadian Government next week with the office of Undersecretary Atty. Jasmin. Looking forward for her Bobby Joseph.”

I have always believed that communication is the beginning of understanding. I just hope that the folks at the DOT will have an open mind and listen to what the leaders of the Tourism industry have to say about the Hotel Ratings program. After all, the DOT is there not to act as a burden to the Tourism industry, but to enhance it so it can better compete in the worldwide tourism market, especially in this highly competitive Asian market.

I’m totally against this program for the simple reason that in this country, anything that government agencies touch reeks with corruption, no matter how they try to come up with their best effort because I strongly believe in that dictum, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.” So let’s hear it from the DOT on how the $7 million that came from Canada was spent in this program? Abangan!

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On the political front, it seems that Rep. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao is aiming for a higher office, seeking a seat in the Senate in the coming 2016 presidential elections under the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA). In my book, Rep. Pacman can represent his district in General Santos City (GENSAN), but being Senator is a whole different ballgame, unlike in the House of Representatives where there are 212 Congressmen/ women representing their respective districts all over the country. But there are only 24 Senators, therefore attendance in the Senate is going to be crucial or critical and therefore we cannot have a Senator who will only be present if and when he wants to be present because of his boxing career.

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Regarding this issue, Mr. Mon Abrea wrote this piece on his Facebook saying, “Lawmaker or Lawbreaker? The BIR is trying to collect nearly double the Pacquiao’s declared assets. I’m sure BIR has lapses but a lawmaker who barely attended sessions in Congress and hasn’t settled his tax obligations running for the Senate is an insult to me as a taxpayer.

I’m sure that he’s a good person, a modern day hero and definitely, not corrupt to say the least. But whoever advised him to run for the Senate after almost being absent in his entire term as Congressman has an evil plan. I really hope all political candidates will be required to submit their income tax returns and subject themselves to BIR Audit with a waiver of bank secrecy to promote honesty and transparency in our government. Let’s face it; the biggest tax evaders are our corrupt politicians who have amassed wealth without paying taxes. The worst part is that we keep on re-electing them.” Thanks Mon… you hit it on the nail! I dare say that Rep. Manny Pacquiao should not give up boxing only if he wins the Senatorial race. Rather he must choose whether he should stay with boxing or be a Senator…but he most certainly cannot have both!

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The Sandiganbayan fifth division has placed Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza and Provincial Board Member Celestino “Tining” Martinez III under a 90-day preventive suspension for their alleged involvement in the misuse of P15 million in pork barrel funds of former Cebu Rep. Clavel Martinez in 2002. Hmmm Mayor Paz Radaza is the Liberal Party’s mayoralty candidate in Lapu-Lapu City. The LP chose her because of her winnability against the honest businessman and civic crusader Efrain Pelaez Jr. who is a loyal LP party member.

Jun has since resigned in disgust from the LP. But if you think we are happy about this Sandiganbayan suspension? No we are not! This case was a no-brainer! The Sandiganbayan should have done this in the year 2003 and not 13 long years later. After all, justice delayed is justice denied!

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Email: vsbobita@mozcom.com or vsbobita@gmail.com


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