SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
The House of Representatives this week approved on second reading House Bill 8143 which seeks to make tourist sites accessible to everyone through the building of necessary infrastructure.
The approved "Tourism Sites Accessibility" Bill, principally authored by Rep. Salvador Belaro (Party-list, 1-Ang Edukasyon), mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to prioritize the construction of necessary infrastructure to ensure the accessibility of all tourism sites in the country.
Under the bill, the implementation of the Convergence Program for Enhancing Tourism Access of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) shall be prioritized.
The DPWH shall ensure the construction of roads and bridges leading to all tourism sites in the country.
Likewise, it tasks the Secretaries of the DOT and the DPWH to include in their departments’ programs the implementation of the Act.
Funding for implementation of the Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act and from internally generated funds of the DOT.
The DOT, in collaboration with the DPWH, shall issue the necessary rules and regulations for the proper implementation of the Act.
Belaro said that one of the drawbacks of promoting tourism in the country is the lack of appropriate infrastructure, specifically good roads and bridges leading to many tourist destinations in the country.
“We have to make our tourist sites accessible to everybody by ensuring that all such tourist spots are connected, at the very least by an accessible road or a bridge,” Belaro said.
He said tourism is a sunshine industry in the country and it needs all the support the government can give for it to continue generating income for the economy.
Other authors of the bill are former President and now House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Reps. Lucy Torres-Gomez, Karlo Alexei Nograles, Lord Allan Jay Velasco, Erico Aristotle Aumentado, Elisa Kho, Vini Nola Ortega, Glona Labadlabad, Tricia Nicole Velasco-Catera, Mark Go, Enrico Pineda, Michelle Antonio, Carlos Roman Uybarreta, and Alfred Vargas III. | Ma. Victoria Palomar