VP Leni: Tourism industry essential to Filipinos
Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo held an online meeting with stakeholders in the tourism sector where she recognized tourism as an industry essential to the livelihood of Filipinos and the country’s economy and development.
The meeting, called Usapang Turismo Kasama si Leni, took place on Monday, January 10, and was attended by representatives from 63 tourism organizations and companies. Organized by the Turismo para kay Leni and the Robredo People’s Council (RPC), it had 332 participants over Zoom and more than 13,000 views on Facebook.
“Sa context ng Pilipinas hindi non-essential ‘yung tourism kasi ang daming communities na dependent on it,” said Robredo.
It is the ordinary people working in the industry who need help the most especially after the pandemic had practically put tourism to a halt, the Vice President said. They are the boatmen, drivers, and tour guides who live every day on their earnings.
“Alam natin noong nahinto ‘yung lahat ng mga flights, ‘yung nagkaroon ng mga lockdown, ilang buhay ba ‘yung huminto?” said Robredo.
In recognition of the importance of the sector, Robredo said that measures to alleviate the impact of the pandemic and other crises must be institutionalized, such as her Hanapbuhay para sa Lahat Plan, which would provide unemployment insurance to affected workers.
The program will help businesses as well, as Robredo said it will mitigate the uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
In her message, Robredo outlined her plans for the sector, such as improving infrastructure, investment in the retooling and upskilling of human resources, developing a culture of safety, upgrading MSMEs in the tourism value chain, greener tourism, and strengthening the capacity of local governments for planning and implementation through assistance from the national government, to ensure that the tourism industry benefits their host communities.
“Pag dini-develop mo 'yung local tourism capacities, parating iniisip natin, how will the local community benefit out of the tourism industry that's in their locality?” said Robredo.
John Francis Abelgas of Traveletz, Inc. said it was emotionally uplifting to hear Robredo say that tourism is essential.
“I firmly believe that she can execute her plan of institutionalizing crisis management units, equally in every LGUs by empowering and capacitating tourism offices through government and private partnerships. Nagawa nya na ito sa Angat Buhay, Angat Kabuhayan Projects. This will really boost traveler or consumer confidence which will attract more tourists [and] will provide economic benefits,” Abelgas said. [End]