SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
As the government gears up to implement the 6-month closure of Boracay starting on April 26, the House committee on tourism approved House Bill 6093, seeking to create the Tourism Resiliency Certification Program (TRCP).
The program aims to prevent, mitigate and control possible damages arising from risks or threats to the tourism industry, such as violence, terrorism, and environmental degradation and climate change.
The bill authored by Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez, chairperson of the committee on tourism, refers to the TRCP as a program that 1) identifies risks to the country’s tourism industry, 2) prescribes compliance measures, 3) establishes an appropriate metric system to determine certain acceptable levels of compliance, and 4) mandates the compliance of prescribed measures by all Registered Tourism Enterprises (RTEs).
When Gomez filed the bill in August last year, the issue of Boracay’s environmental degradation has yet to hit the headlines.
Instead, she noted various incidents such as the attack on Resorts World Manila last year, the string of violence in Europe, and the Marawi crisis, in underscoring the need to protect the tourism industry from disastrous consequences of such circumstances.
“The bill intends to institute a fail-safe regulatory and administration system that will protect the tourism industry against critical, present-day threats, such as violence, terrorism, and also environmental degradation and climate change,” said Gomez.
The bill declares the paramount importance of protecting the tourism industry, one of the major drivers of socio-economic development in the Philippines, by supporting its fundamental performance indicators.
These indicators include the number of foreign and local visitors, earnings from foreign expenditure, product development, capital expenditure, among others.
Among others, the measure pointed out that ensuring the security of foreign and local tourists is a cornerstone for the survival and growth of the tourism industry.
The bill provides that the TRCP shall create a Philippine Tourism Risk Assessment Framework which shall identify actual and potential risks to the tourism industry, such as terrorism, violence, natural calamities, extreme weather, and other perceived threats.
The framework shall be outlined in the Act’s Implementing Rules and Regulations.
The TRCP shall also prescribe a specific set of compliance measures that shall address risks presented in the Philippine Tourism Risk Assessment Framework.
Moreover, the TRCP shall establish a compliance metric system to determine the level of compliance of RTEs and Tourism Enterprise Zones (TEZs). It shall mandate all RTEs and TEZs under the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) to comply with the TRCP.
The creation of the TRCP shall be undertaken by a Technical Working Group to be participated in by representatives of all pertinent stakeholders and spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
The TIEZA shall be the corporate body to oversee, regulate, implement and supervise the compliance and certification of RTEs and TEZs under the Act.
The bill designates DOT to be the lead organizer in the creation of the Philippine Tourism Risk Assessment Framework and the convention of the TWGs which shall create the measures and mechanics of the TRCP. Additional funds shall be allocated to the DOT for these purposes.
The bill has received the endorsement of officials of the DOT, TIEZA, and Office of Civil Defense. /R.B. Bundang