Less politics, more private sector in Suroy
Better coordination between the private sector and the local governments of Cebu should be achieved to remove any traces of politicking in the province’s Suroy-Suroy countryside tourism program.
Tourism stakeholders in Cebu stressed this point during yesterday afternoon’s public hearing on amendments to the Suroy-Suroy ordinance at the Provincial Board (PB).
Jocelyn Tan, Cebu Tourism Officers Association president, said mayors who were not allied with the One Cebu party of the Garcias refused to include their towns or cities in the program.
“It’s a close to perfect program but the difficulty is when the mayors are not allied with the governor. The mayor will always say nganong mo-apil man ta? (Why will we join?),” said Tan, also concurrent Bogo City tourism officer.
The Suroy Suroy Sugbo countryside tourism program was conceived by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2004.
It was first staged in northern Cebu to offer visitors a sample of Cebu’s culture, heritage and nature attractions outside the metropolitan area.
It was expanded under the administration of former governor Gwendolyn Garcia. Garcia’s critics said the program served as a vehicle to raise her political stock.
A 2012 review on the Suroy Suroy program released by the Commission on Audit (COA) Cebu months ago showed that expenses exceeded its total revenue collection mainly due to its many non-paying guests.
PB member Miguel Magpale said the Cebu provincial government will try to avoid the mistakes committed by the past administration.
For starters, a definite schedule will be prepared for balikbayans and Suroy-Suroy participants.
Regular monthly meetings between representatives from the tourism sector and the towns and cities tourism officers were also considered.
The Suroy Sugbo tour should be the provincial government’s main offering to tourists who plan to explore Cebu, Cebu City Tourism Commissioner Tetta Baad said.
Baad said each of the province’s 53 towns and cities should be encouraged to develop “small tour packages” such as the eco-adventure offering in Danao.
PB Member Arleigh Sitoy, who authored the Suroy-Suroy ordinance, said the inputs of tourism stakeholders will be reviewed and incorporated as amendments.
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