Senator Grace Poe is proposing a new way for tour guides to become accredited to help boost tourism and further lift the economy.
In a visit to La Union and Baguio City recently, Poe pitched that the state-run Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) could offer “free training courses” for tour guides amid a vibrant tourism industry.
“Ang TESDA puwedengmagbigay ng free trainings para samgainteresadongmaging tour guides imbes na sila pa angmagbabayad,” (TESDA can give free trainings for those interested to be tour guides), said Poe in a radio interview.
Poe brought her campaign to the surfing capital of the north and the summer capital.
The Department of Tourism reported that there were 3.7 million foreign visitors who entered the Philippines during the first half of 2018, an increase of 10 percent compared with the same period in 2017.
Furthermore, 60 million Filipinos visited domestic destinations as of 2017.
Increased tourism activity also results in direct and indirect returns in terms of job creation, higher revenues for businesses and larger state revenues, Poe said, that is why tour guides play an important role in presenting the country to visitors.
“Importante na mayroontayongmagagaling na tour guides para ipakilalaangmgamagagandanglugar ng Pilipinassabuongmundo… Ito’yisangsektor na dapathuwagmakalimutan ng gobyernodahilmakakatulongsilasaturismo at kikita pa tayonglahat,” (It is important that we have competent tour guides to introduce to the world the beautiful spots in the Philippines. This is one sector that the government should not forget because this will boost tourism and eventually earn money for all of us), Poe added.
Poe, who filed Senate Resolution No. 1025 urging various Senate committees to review the implementation of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, said that while some local governments shoulder expenses for the tour guides’ trainings, others have to shell out money just to get accredited.
“RA 9593 is a relatively young law and it must be reviewed and re-assessed, including its implementation, not just to ensure a vibrant and thriving tourism in the Philippines but to likewise ensure that our local tour guides and various staff and personnel of tourism enterprises are not being prejudiced by numerous fees and other reported wrongful practices in the workplace,” Poe said in filing the resolution.
Meanwhile, Poe attended a student forum at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-San Fernando campus where she promised on getting funding for the upgrade of the university library.
“Importanterinangteknolohiya kaya dapatmayroong computer na naka-connect saiba’tibang libraries (Technology is important so we need computers that are connected to the different libraries) so you can access the different collections of different libraries as well,” Poe said.
“Dapatmayroon ding modernization program para mabigyan ng pondoang state universities and colleges para sa libraries (We should have modernization program to allot funds for universities and colleges for their libraries) so you can study freely, safely, and comfortably,” Poe added.
She then proceeded to Baguio in Benguet province where she visited the Baguio City Public Market and talked to the vendors.
Asked what inspires her to continue with her market visits, Poe said: “Kung gusto natinmaabotangmgataogalingsaiba’tibanglugar, itoangpinakamadalidahildiretsomongmakakadaupangpaladangatingmgakababayan.” (If you want to reach people from different places, this is the easiest way because you get to meet and mingle with our countrymen right away.)
Poe said Baguio’s market was also reminiscent of her childhood.
“Nungbataako, naalalako, ditoakodinadala ng nanayko para bumili ng pasalubong,” Poe shared, “Pagkakataon na rin na bumili ng mgaproduktonggalingdito. ‘Yung mgaanakko at ‘yungnanaykohinihintay na kung anongpasalubongangdadalhinko para sakanila.” (I remember when I was young, my mother would take me here to buy pasalubong. It is time to buy local products from here. My children and my mother now wait what pasalubong I have for them.)
She capped her Baguio sortie with a dialogue with local officials and meeting with transport leaders.—BS