Linggo, Abril 22, 2012

R.P's empty tourism come-on slogan


I am not impressed by the government’s come-on: “It’s more fun in the Philippines!” This is empty rhetoric. We Filipinos are good only in sloganeering. How can you attract tourists, particularly deep pocketed foreigners to come to our shores and start spending their monies when a toilet bowl at Terminal 2 in Manila could not even be provided with toilet paper by airport officials ( I know this because I was a victim of this when I arrived from abroad). A hotel in Dagupan City shuts-off its water system even before midnight because its owner wanted to save power and water bills, and another hotel seems to have an air conditioners that are programmed to decrease its cooling system from cool to hell as hours pass by. Even how catchy is our country’s slogan originally coined or plagiarized (hey, are the Swiss listening?) by the wise guys at the Department of Tourism, the figures speak that in terms of drawing tourists we are still a wimp even in our backyard South East Asia. Data collected by the Asean Secretariat shows that despite the floods that hit Thailand in the latter part of 2011, it attracted 19 million visitors up to 19.84 percent year-on-year or from 2010 versus 2011. Tourist arrivals to Vietnam reached 6.01 million in the same year, up 19.1 percent year-on-year. Malaysia recorded 24.71 million tourist arrivals in 2011, a slight improvement from 24.58 million in 2010. Tourist arrivals grew 9.29 percent to 7.65 million in 2011, compared with 7 million in 2010 in Indonesia. The Indonesian government is targeting 8 million tourists this year and 9.5 million by 2014. The Philippines reached 3.917 million, up 11.28 percent from 3.52 million in 2010. Even the Philippines exceeded the 3.7-million target of the Department of Tourism last year, record shows we have to exert more real solutions like accessible roads, competitive hotels, comfortable airports, no high degree of coli forms in Dagupan City and in Pangasinan or in any other seawaters in the country,and lasting peace and order and not just plain and simple mantra “Its more fun in Basilan and Tawi-Tawi islands”. *** I could only shake my head after reading that the Supreme Court resolved that incase the government sells its sequestered shares of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) worth at least P85 billion to rehabilitate the troubled coconut industry the government sells it at P75 per share at its exclusive buyer SMC. Has Malacanang freaked-out to this onerous and “anomalous” decision? According to Budget Secretary Butch Abad, Malacanang is going to file a motion for reconsideration to the high tribunal. He said if the government shares are sold at the prevailing market price it could command the price of P114 a share or a whopping difference of P30 billion if it is sold at the controversial P75 a share. Tsk, tsk kawawang gobierno, mukhang may kikita na naman dito. *** Every time the price of oil (gas, diesel) in the Philippines increases, the 12 percent Value Added Tax increases, too. Every time it falls, VAT falls, too. Lawmakers and cause-oriented groups wanted the VAT law to be repealed. They wanted to repeal the deregulation law as consumers get the brunt every time the prices of oil increase. I disagree with them. Why? The repeal of this law is good only if oil is cheap. Just like during the Marcos Era when government imposed some prices on oil that it saved so it can subsidize every time the prices increase. The problem is oil prices don’t decrease most of the time, thanks, but no thanks, to the burgeoning demography in the world. It is our government that gets hits in case it returns to an Oil Price Stabilization Fund’s style of solving the prohibitive prices of oil among transport owners. In case those who favor the repeal of deregulation succeed in their advocacy then monies intended to other public services (like schools, medicine, highway, to name a few) could be undermined in favor of those gas guzzling Porsches, SUVs, and other cars owned by the upper and the middle classes. The best thing government should do is to maintain the VAT and vigorously subsidize the public transport, and the businessmen who ferry vegetables and other goods for public consumption. Deregulation can encourage the rich and the middle class to avail of public transports like air conditioned buses, MRT, and the LRT. In case this happens, traffic congestion in the country eases and it is good for the general welfare. (Send comments to

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