Tourism, economy among major concerns raised at Dagyaw 2019 dialog

By: Irene R. Sino Cruz July 09,2019 - 05:18 PM

Tourism Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III said that the Philippines has to improve its tourism competitiveness to keep up with ASEAN neighbors. /Irene R. Sino Cruz

CEBU CITY, Philippines–Concerns ranging from security to economy were raised by various sectors during the Dagyaw 2019 Dialogue held Tuesday, July 9, at the Cebu Provincial Capitol Social Hall.

Dagyaw 2019 refers to the Open Government and Participatory Governance Regional Townhall Meetings to be conducted in 16 regions. It provides an opportunity for government officials to interact directly with various sectors at the local level.

The activity was organized by Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and supported by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and non-governmental partners.

PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar explained that Dagyaw 2019 enables the representatives from local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations to air their concerns on various issues.

Based on information gathered by the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEAD), they found three issues as the major concerns in Central Visayas, which are anti-terrorism, tourism, business and the economy.

On the issue of anti-terrorism, Undersecretary Cesar Yano of the Department of National Defense noted that while these might not be much of a problem for Central Visayas, there should be vigilance among all sectors.

Yano cited the incident when members of a Muslim extremist group went to Inabanga, Bohol in 2017 allegedly to stage kidnappings.

The DND official cited the importance of community support for the military and the police to enable them to thwart any destabilization efforts by terrorist groups. He urged the community to remain vigilant and report the presence of any suspicious persons to the authorities.

Meanwhile, Assistant Secretary Roberto Alabado III of the Department of Tourism (DOT) cited the gains of tourism in Cebu and the rest of the Philippines.

According to Alabado, the tourism sector has contributed 12.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and provides employment to one out of 13 Filipinos. “That would mean (that) 5.4 million jobs in the Philippines can be connected to tourism alone,” he pointed out.

To remain a major contributor to the country’s economy, Alabado said that the DOT has identified several strategic directions for tourism.

“Number one, let us improve the competitiveness and enhancing growth. We are competing against Thailand. We are competing against Indonesia, Singapore,” he said.

The government has been active in maintaining the country’s natural resources in various destinations for sustainable tourism, Alabado added. “So, let us translate it now to what are the plans of Central Visayas, which is headed by RD (Regional Director Shalimar) Tamano.”

He said that their marketing efforts abroad also included promoting Mactan Cebu International Airport as an major entry point in the Philippines.

Asteria Caberte, director of the Department of Trade and Industry in Central Visayas (DTI-7), enumerated the services they offered to businesses.

According to Caberte, DTI has started to implement the Negosyo Sa Barangay services to be offered to businesses in the 3rd and 4th class municipalities.  They have also set up Negosyo Centers in various areas to provide guidance to those who would like to go into business.

Around 500 representatives from local government units, the academe, business groups, and peoples organization attended the activity. Dagyaw 2019 aims to gather stakeholder inputs for the co-creation of the Philippine Open Government Partnership national action plan 2019-2021./dcb

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TAGS: Caberte, DND, DTI, gross domestic product, NEDA
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