DOT acreditation pushed for Sagada Tourist entities

By GWEN GAONGEN
www.nordis.net

SAGADA, Mountain Province — Tourism related businesses are encouraged to seek accreditation from the Department Of Tourism – Cordillera (DOT-CAR) and to comply with environment laws. Top priorities for accreditation are tourist transport services, inns and restaurants.

This was announced by representatives of the DOT and Environmental Management Bureau (emb) regional offices during an information activity held June 17th here, in a prime tourist destination in the North. This is in compliance to current orders from the President to all top tourism areas after the Boracay closure.

Angie Fangtulao of the DOT says that their office shall work towards the accreditation and endorsement for franchising all qualified tourist transportation vehicles. Once accredited by the DOT and endorsed to the LTFRB for franchise, tourist transport vehicles may operate in any point of the Philippines.

Three possible modes of ownership, single proprietorship, corporate and cooperative may seek accreditation and franchising. However all vehicles for tourist transport must be of 2018 models for cooperatives and corporate ownership. Only single proprietorship is allowed to use vehicles from 2017 models.

In all three modes of ownership, a minimum of 10 new vehicles registered under a single name is required. It is also a must that tourist transport vehicles are housed in a single garage that can accommodate all 10 vehicles.

“From these basic requirements it is obvious that the regulation is prejudiced against the poor” expressed former Sagada councillor Eduard Umaming. “Only a few can afford to buy 10 new vehicles which cost millions of pesos. Ngem itatta met ket adda dagiti local shuttles ditoy nga pagbirbirokan dagiti kakailian mi. They are not new but they are road worthy.” he adds.

Locals also raised concern that it would encourage outsiders to bring in their vehicles whether tourist transport or otherwise and it is contrary to the efforts of Sagada to pedestrianize the town.

In any case, Fangtulao says that the DOT respects local regulations and can even contribute in informing DOT accredited travel and tour agencies and tourist transportation to leave their vehicles in designated pay parking areas or at place of lodging once in Sagada.

Only local owned vehicles and jeepneys may be allowed to shuttle tourists around town. Aside from “walk town” concept, this will also lessen carbon emissions from cars as well as contribute to augmenting local income.

Aldrich Kewan from the EMB-CAR went through the main points of environment laws. These among many are: Clean air act and Solid waste management. Kewan says the EMB shall monitor the strict implementation of all environment laws.

For one, all establishments must have septic tanks and those with generator sets must register these at the DENR. Having impounding mechanisms for wastes from piggeries are also necessary as these are most often directly discharged into water systems. Kewan warns of stiff penalties such as Php 10,000 per violations of environment laws aside from possible imprisonment.

There was lukewarm reaction to DOT accreditation of inns and homestays as there was very little exchange on this topic. # nordis.net

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