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Duterte bans âthank youâ streamers in Boracay

Duterte bans ‘thank you’ streamers in Boracay

Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star) - October 25, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat has been instructed by President Duterte to tell stakeholders not to post streamers and billboards thanking him for the rehabilitation of Boracay, as he does not want to be glorified.

“I saw a post – someone sent it to me – which says, ‘Thank you PRDD for Saving Boracay’,” Puyat said, adding, “It was even nailed to a tree.”

When she reported this to the President, he got angry.

“He said that is corny. He doesn’t like it. He doesn’t want to be glorified,” she said.

Puyat was then tasked by Duterte to remind the Boracay Interagency Task Force (BIATF) to put a stop to this.

She added that she has informed heads of other concerned agencies such as Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu, Interior and Local Government officer-in-charge Eduardo Año and Public Works Secretary Mark Villar of the President’s wishes.

Duterte had ordered earlier the six-month closure of Boracay from tourists after calling it a “cesspool.”

The island is set to be reopened tomorrow. Puyat had earlier stressed that this is only the first phase of Boracay’s rehabilitation.

Meanwhile, the Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday announced that it has facilitated the training of around 2,100 tourism frontline workers in anticipation of Boracay’s soft opening tomorrow.

“Since the island’s temporary closure, we have been providing free training for our frontliners or the ones who will work face to face with our tourists,” Puyat said.

The DOT Regional Office VI, Boracay Field Office and Boracay Compliance and Monitoring Office conducted training sessions and seminars for porters, receptionists and hotel and resort front office staff from May up to this month.

“Frontliners, including boatmen from Caticlan, Tabo, Cagban and Tambisan Ports; jetty port checkers; ticket collectors; land transport drivers; tour guides and travel and tour operators are undergoing training to become ambassadors of the island,” the DOT said.

Also included in the training are hotel and restaurant waiters and food servers, massage and spa therapists, manicurists, vendors, souvenir gift shops salespersons and water sports activities frontliners.

To ensure the safety and security of tourists in Boracay, the DOT said it is set to conduct two batches of the Tourist-Oriented Police for Community Order and Protection Awareness Training for over 100 Philippine National Police personnel.

“While Boracay is still a work in progress, we are optimistic that these frontliners will help us in showcasing the ‘Better Boracay’ we are working toward,” Puyat said.

Four to five batches of seminars on the Filipino brand of service handled by the DOT’s Office of Industry Manpower Development for frontliners and stakeholders are also being planned.

Regional director Helen Catalbas said the training sessions and seminars will continue even after the soft opening of the island.

For November, training courses in community local guiding for Mabuhay hosts are being rolled out.

Sustainable tourism best practices, including promotion of eco-friendly facilities, transportation and commodities; energy and waste management; and water and biodiversity conservation are also part of the training courses.

“We encourage everyone who sets foot in Boracay to be the best and most responsible tourist that you can be. Practice sustainable tourism and respect the island, and you’ll just keep it more fun for the generations to come,” Puyat said.

Meanwhile, the BIATF has created an oath for a Better Boracay, which calls on tourists visiting the island to act more responsibly, according to Puyat.

“I hereby solemnly swear, as a visitor of Boracay island, that I will, to the best of my ability, help ensure its preservation and sustainable development, and follow/observe environmental laws and regulations,” the oath reads.

BERNADETTE ROMULO-PUYAT BORACAY ISLAND
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