Madrid fusion of DOT has been scrapped

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - November 19, 2018 - 12:00am

For our special presentation tonight we get a glimpse of what’s going on in the Cebu City south district with our special guest Cebu City Councilor Jocelyn “Joy” Pesquera. I have known Joy for many years especially during my years running CITOM and often the City Council calls me to clarify certain funds or ordinances. Councilor Joy is the strictest in questioning, but because she needed to learn about our systems. And in the years I have known her, never have I had to attack her due to irregularities.

Our other guest is someone totally unknown to me because my readers have always known that I’m not a basketball fan and our guest, Mr. Dionaldo “Dondon” Hontiveros, was a professional basketball player for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas of the ASEAN Basketball League. I know that basketball fans know Dondon very well, which is why I invited him to our show when I heard he was running for councilor in the Cebu City south district so that we would really get to know Dondon up close.

So watch this interesting discussion with our leaders in the Cebu City south district, which I’m sure that many Cebuanos would love to hear tonight on SkyCable’s channel 53 at 8 p.m. with replays on Wednesday and Saturday same time and channel. We also have replays on MyTV’s channel 30 at 9 p.m. Monday and at 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday.

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I was in Manila to join the 18th Grand Wine Experience at the Grand Marriott Ballroom an event hosted by the Philippine Wine Merchants and, wow, this time there were more than 2,000 participants and, yes, I even met the US ambassador and interviewed the Japanese ambassador for a segment in “Straight from the Sky.” I have been attending the Grand Wine Experience for a few years already and this was really the first time that I met so many foreign ambassadors attending.

Then I met tourism Regional Director Shalimar Hofer Tamano whom I met exactly a year ago in the same place but he was still on floating status and did not realize that he was soon to become tourism director for Region-7. Shalimar told me something that’s in the news and indeed, reading the news in The Philippine STAR revealed what Shalimar told me that this time around, the Philippines will not push through with its hosting of the fourth edition of Madrid Fusion Manila next year, as the tourism department is focusing its resources on sustainable tourism efforts.

The DOT said, “The Department of Tourism will continue to focus its resources on the many pressing challenges in the industry, in particular to address the needs of sectors that require support as the tourism industry adopts a policy of sustainable tourism.” This was to happen this coming April 2019. But in truth we’ve chastised the DOT which was then under Secretary Jimenez in the sense that the MFM was actually focused on the culinary delights of foreign countries rather than focusing on Filipino culinary delights. If you ask me, this is a great decision by tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat. I should contact and congratulate her on this decision to scrap the MFM.

In our last full-blown meeting at the Waterfront Hotel with tourism insiders, the DOT emphasized that efforts such as the development of farm tourism will provide a dependable source of income for Filipinos in their localities and is also vital to countryside development. “The DOT recognizes what the local food industry has contributed to promoting the country as a vibrant culture with its own unique flavor to the world.”

Indeed, farm tourism is taking up many smaller but productive farms by storm. Two years ago, just before I experienced problems with my kidneys, I took a three-day farm tourism conference in Tagaytay. After the conference, we visited the various farms that the DOT prepared and there were already a lot in Tagaytay. It turned out that with the new booming Philippine economy, small businessmen in Metro Manila would invest in small 20-hectare farms as a sideline business and a boost to farmers to have financial security. That is why farm tourism has boomed in Luzon. But this is not happening in Mindanao due to security issues.

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For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.

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