Magpale: Suroy-Suroy program has separate budget
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale yesterday defended the Suroy-Suroy Sugbo countryside tours as a cost-effective way of promoting the province as a tourist destination.
She said the rural tourism program has been made permanent in a 2012 ordinance and has its own budget. The program has a P5.5-million budget for this year.
“Based on the assessment of the members of the (provincial tourism) council, it’s an effective way of promoting the province which doesn’t require a big budget compared to advertising on TV),” she told reporters yesterday.
Magpale was reacting to the call of Bogo City Mayor Celestino “Junie” Martinez Jr. to use the funds set aside for Suroy-Suroy for tourism-related infrastructure projects instead.
“I wish I were there to explain that Suroy-Suroy, is the promotion arm of the tourism program. I would have explained that the budget for Suroy-Suroy is separate. There is also a separate budget for infrastructure,” she said.
Magpale said Mayor Martinez may submit a proposal to use the Suroy-Suroy budget for his town on infrastructure projects instead.
She said local chief executives may propose infrastructure projects to the Provincial Tourism Council, which will then assess the project’s viability and tourist-draw potential.
Magpale admitted that the amount spent for the program sometimes exceeds the proceeds.
She said the Commission on Audit (COA) has called their attention on the costs.
“This year, I’m proud to say that the last tour to Camotes Islands had more than 100 paying guests.
The Suroy-Suroy Sugbo countryside tours, which brings visitors to less-known destinations in component towns and cities, started in 2005 as part of the Cebu Business Month celebration.
It was later identified with former governor, now Rep. Gwendolyn Garcia, who would lead each trip, as the main host.
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