DOT to help tourism recovery once Taal calms down

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

The Department of Tourism (DOT) on Friday assured it is ready to assist in promotions and coordinate with concerned agencies on the recovery of tourism establishments affected by the restive Taal Volcano once the situation stabilizes.

“First, when it comes to promotions, we’re ready. But in terms of projects, we will be coordinating with the NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority), sila ‘yong nagpapatawag for the recovery (they’re the ones tasked on the recovery),” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat told reporters in a press conference in Makati City.

Romulo-Puyat said the government is focused on helping evacuees who were forced to flee their homes when the volcano spewed steam and ash which covered Batangas and other provinces in southern Luzon.

“Now, maybe it’s too early but we are, from day one, we’ve already been coordinating with the NEDA. We have committed already depending on what they think is the need but it has to be coordinated with the NEDA,” she said.

Meanwhile, Romulo-Puyat reiterated calls on businesses to heed the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology’s (Phivolcs) advice since ordering tourism establishments to halt operations does not fall within DOT’s mandate.

Taal Volcano remains under alert level 4, which means a hazardous eruption is possible within hours or days.

“Again, we came up with the statement that the safety of the workers and the tourists are more important than the numbers. Of course, in Tagaytay, tourism is the main occupation, but for us, we will always follow the guidance of Phivolcs,” she said.

“Always follow Phivolcs and of course they are always guided by DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government),” she added.

She underscored that the country remains safe for foreign tourists, adding other Philippine destinations remain “totally unaffected” by the recent volcanic eruption.

“The only one disrupted was in Taal, there had been no disruption in Clark. It was successfully diverted, only that part, but our top tourist spots –Boracay and Cebu– (they are) totally unaffected,” she said. (PNA)

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