MANILA – Puerto Galera, one of Mindoro’s top travel destinations, continues to accept tourists and remains free of oil spill, the Department of Tourism (DOT) said.
Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said the municipal government of Puerto Galera confirmed that the area “remains negative of the oil spill effects”.
“As far as the top attractions in that particular area, including Puerto Galera, were pleased to inform the public that they are still at over 90 percent capacity as far as reservation is concerned. We invite our fellow Filipinos to patronize Puerto Galera kasi patuloy po ang kanilang [because their] tourism offerings [continue],” Frasco said in a news release issued Tuesday.
No cancellation of travel plans and accommodation bookings in Puerto Galera and nearby major tourism destinations was also reported among members of the Philippine Tour Operators Association (PHILTOA) and Hotel Sales and Marketing Association (HSMA), their respective presidents said in an interview.
Puerto Galera, home to one of the most accessible white sand beaches for travelers coming from Luzon, is known for its lush greenery and thriving marine biodiversity, also popular to divers.
The destination is located south of the Mindoro Island next to Calapan City.
“For us, even our members are not affected,” HSMA president Loleth So said.
63 affected destinations
Frasco assured that the DOT would extend assistance to affected tourism workers through training programs for alternative sources of livelihood while the oil spill impacts some parts of Mindoro.
To date, 63 tourism sites and up to 1,000 tourism workers have been affected by the spread of thick bunker oil from the MT Princess Empress that capsized off Naujan, Oriental Mindoro last Feb. 28.
“And so, we are monitoring this very closely and I’ve already directed the regional offices to craft a recovery action plan para naman mabigyan natin ng [so that we can give them] guidance, ‘yong ating mga [our] affected tourism stakeholders and we are sure to provide social protection sa ating mga [to our] affected tourism workers,” Frasco said.
The DOT’s regional offices in Region 4-B (Mimaropa) and Western Visayas are expected to produce a list of affected workers to be endorsed to the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program.
The DOT will also conduct a learning needs assessment to develop a training module on oil spill to better equip tourism stakeholders in case similar incidents happen in the future. (PNA)