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PBO bane to Iloilo City’s tourism?

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Department of Tourism (DoT) and a tourist bus operator slammed traffic managers in Iloilo City for being “unfriendly” to the tourism sector.

DOT regional director Edwin Trompeta riled at the deliberate refusal of the Traffic Technical Working Group (TTWG) and Traffic Management and Engineering Unit (TMEU) to allow a tourist bus to enter the city and fetch a group of tourism officers.

Trompeta said the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association (ITOA) tried to secure a permit from the TTWG to allow a bus of Philippine Visitors, Investors Services and Assistance, Inc. (Philvisa) to fetch them from a hotel and tour the city and province of Iloilo.

The DoT official said the tour was part of ITOA’s seminar in Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center last week.

But Trompeta claimed the TTWG did not act on the application nor did it inform ITOA on the status of its request for special permit.

Buses and other public utility vehicles are barred from entering the city because of the perimeter boundary ordinance (PBO).

“What happened was that 80 tourism officers boarded passenger jeepneys to the terminal in Pavia where the Philvisa bus was waiting. What happened is not very good for the tourism sector of Iloilo City,” Trompeta said.

Max Sorbito, Philvisa manager, said they learned that TTWG did not act on the special permit because the TMEU lacks personnel that will direct traffic when the bus goes around the city.

Sorbito said the actuation of the TTWG will drive away tourists and investors from Iloilo City.

Trompeta said the millions of pesos spent by the Iloilo City government to promote the city as tourism destination will go to waste if visitors find it hard to go around the metropolis.

The Iloilo City Council, through the committee on transportation and communication, turned Philvisa’s bid to ply the Iloilo airport-Iloilo City route because it runs counter to the PBO.

Taxi groups in Iloilo City opposed Philvisa’s operations in Iloilo City saying it will reduce their passengers.

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