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Lapu-Lapu mayor on push for environmental fees: It is still a proposal and not yet been okayed

By: Futch Anthony Inso - Multimedia Correspondent - CDN Digital | August 16,2023 - 08:00 AM

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan says the environmental fees implementation is still a proposal and has still a long way to go before it can be an ordinance. | Futch Anthony Inso

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Philippines — The proposed ordinance which seeks to collect environmental fees to tourists is still a proposal yet and has not yet been approved.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan said this after the Hotel Resorts and Restaurant Association of Cebu (HRRAC) gave a negative comment on the proposed ordinance.

READ: Lapu-Lapu councilor proposes collection of environmental fees from tourists 

Reactions of HRRAC, Lapu-Lapu mayor

Chan was referring to the HRRAC describing the proposed ordinance as hypocritical and could make the city less attractive compared to neighboring destinations that were not imposing similar charges.

But the mayor said that the proposed ordinance has still a long way to go before it could made into an ordinance.

He also said that if indeed it would be made into an ordinance and the hotels and resorts would find it an extra burden for them to collect environmental fees, then the city could find ways to implement the collection of the fees.

He said the city could collect it in ports of entry or causeways in Angasil, Maribago, Marigondon and Hilton Port.

READ: Anda, Bohol resort owners want town’s environmental fee policy scrapped

Funds from ‘environment fees’

The mayor also assured that the funds that they could collect from the environmental fee would be used in improving the city’s tourism industry, such as protecting its tourist destinations.

He was referring to the new tourist attractions of the city, which included the whale sharks in Barangay Marigondon and the sardine run in Barangay Maribago.

But again the mayor reiterated that this was still a proposed ordinance and it had still a long way to go if it would be approved or not.

READ: Int’l tourist arrivals in PH breach 3 million; tourism revenue up by over 500%

Lapu-Lapu mayor saddened by reaction

He said that he was saddened by the not-so-cordial reaction of the hotel, resort, and tourist sectors.

“Mao nang sakit pamalandungon nga mobuhi ta og sakit nga pulong nga dili pa gyud na mahimong balaudnon,” Chan said.

(That is why it is painful to think that they would say those things when it is still not an ordinance.)

On August 4, the city held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance which would impose environmental fees on all individuals who would avail accommodation services in hotels, resorts, and other accommodation establishments in the city and would provide penalties for the violations thereof.

The proposed ordinance was authored by Councilor Annabeth Cuizon.

READ: Whale sharks, Lapu-Lapu’s marine resources need protection: Create Bantay Dagat group

Reason for proposed ordinance

“Ang rason nga gipatawag ang katawhan, and those in the tourism related nga mga negosyo para pagpahibalo kanila nga dunay proposal nga environmental fees, unsay katuyuan, unsay pamaagi, so, maminaw ta sa mga tawo,” Chan said.

(The reason that the public and those in the tourism related businesses were called to a meeting or public hearing is for them to be informed that there is such a proposal for environmental fees, what is the purpose, how it is done, so, the public will hear these.)

READ: Lawlessness in our oceans imperils PH’s food security and the lives of poor fisherfolk

Why a public hearing was held

“Kay kung ang environmental fees kung gi implement ba without consulting the people kana murag di na maayo,” he said.

(Because if the environmental fees would be implemented without consulting the people, then that is not good.)

Aside from this, Chan said that he also would need to approve the proposed policy before it could be implemented.

If the mayor disagrees with it, then he may veto or not approve the ordinance.

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TAGS: environmental fees, HRRAC, lapu-lapu, Mayor Junard "Ahong" Chan

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