Victoria Suites in Divisoria is among the new hotels in the city

THE Department of Tourism (DOT) in Northern Mindanao is calling on owners of establishments in the region to apply for accreditation with the department or face closure if they refused to do so.

Josephine H. Roque, DOT-Northern Mindanao’s senior tourism operations officer, said under Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, the DOT is mandated to accredit all hotels, inns, restaurants and the like, and be included in the list for tourists references.

Roque said in Cagayan de Oro, there are least 42 establishments that are not yet accredited with the DOT.

These include Stone’s Town Suites, Sir George Pension, Willshire Inn, Dreamworld Pension House, DDD Habitat Pension House, New Dawn Pension, Oro Capital Inn, Gardens of Malasag Eco-Tourism Village, Red Palm Inn, Gardenia Guesthouse, Goodnews Travellers Inn, Coconut Bay Resort, King William Inn, YMCA Hostel, Vines Pension House, Basamanggas Resort, Demiren Hotel, Hotel Ramon, Cagayan Parkview Hotel, Grace Residence Hall, Casa Luciana Pension, Fort Santiago Pension, Commission on Audit Dorm, Yumi Pension House, Sunshine Christian Guest House, Balay Mindanao, Roa Caayupan Pension House, Executive Pension, Mountain Suite Business Apartelle, Cagayan Parkview Hotel, United Church of Christ in the Philippines Dorm, Searsolin, Westin Tourist Inn, Golden Pension House, Kingston Lodge, St. Nicholas Travellers Inn and Victoria Suites.

Among the DOT-accredited establishments in the region include Bahay-Bakasyunan sa Camiguin, D’ Budgetel, Cagayan Riverview Inn, Casa Crystalla, Casa Isabella, Country Village Hotel, De Luxe Hotel, Discovery Hotel, Dynasty Court Hotel, Grand City Hotel, Hotel Koresco, Hotel Conchita, Lamar Inn, Mallberry Suites, Maxandrea Hotel, Miami Inn, Middleton Apartelle, Pearlmont Inn, Philtown Hotel, Pryce Plaza Hotel and Ridgeview Chalets.

The DOT has specifically focused on the rundown of accredited establishments as it has finally completed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Tourism Act of 2009.

In a press statement, the IRR was formulated by a task force composed of the DOT, Philippine Convention Visitors Corp., Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA) and Duty Free Philippines after a series of consultations with public and private tourism stakeholders across the country.

After President Gloria Arroyo signed the law in Cebu last May 12, 2009, the IRR was made within 90 days following the publication of the Tourism Act of 2009 in the Official Gazette last July 13.

Tourism Secretary Joseph Ace Durano signed the IRR last Nov. 10, 2009 which were promulgated on Nov. 12 and took effect immediately after publication.

Former tourism undersecretary and now DOT senior adviser Phineas Alburo earlier said this new law provides clarity and alignment of duties, responsibilities and funding.

Under the IRR, the DOT will focus on “responsible tourism as a strategy for environmentally sound and community participatory tourism programs, enlisting the participation of local communities” while developing the country as a prime tourist hub in Asia.

The law grants the DOT supervisory and coordination roles in the implementation of tourism policies, plans, and projects.

The IRR also enables the DOT to establish a special account called the Tourism Development Fund in the National Treasury.

Fees collected by the DOT from accreditation and training for the tourism industry will be part of this fund that will be used to implement tourism policies, plans, programs and activities of the department and attached agencies.

The law also reorganizes the Philippine Convention and Visitors Corporation into the Philippine Tourism Promotions Board, which will be responsible for marketing and promoting the country domestically and internationally as a major global tourism destination.

The law reorganizes the PTA into the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority, a body mandated to designate, regulate and supervise the Tourism Enterprise Zones as well as develop, manage and supervise tourism infrastructure projects in the country.

The DOT will form a system for the accreditation of tourism enterprises in accordance with established international standards. It will also push for the creation of a tourism officer position as a permanent item in every province, city or municipality where tourism is its significant industry.

Under the law, a tourism coordinating council will be established to serve as a coordinating body that will prepare a five-year strategic plan to develop and enhance a culture of tourism.

In accordance with the IRR, Durano will convene the Tourism Congress on Nov. 25 in Newport City in Pasay City.

Roque said anytime after June 30, representatives from the DOT central office in Manila will be coming to Cagayan de Oro to brief owners of hotels, restaurants and inns on the new law. (With reports from Nancy R. Cudis)

article by Loui S. Maliza from Sun Star CDO

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