Members of the House committee on tourism have approved a proposal to designate Filipino boxing icon Sen. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao as the official endorser of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in its campaign to make the country a premier tourist destination.
During the committee’s hearing on the DOT’s plans and programs for 2017, Rep. Enrico Pineda (Party-list, 1-PACMAN) proposed that the DOT designate Pacquiao as the agency’s spokesperson because of the boxing champion’s tremendous popularity here and abroad.
“Sen. Pacquiao’s international stature is a big boost to the tourism industry of the country. His endorsement would create a lot of impact, especially in the social media,” said Pineda.
Pineda further said the senator from Sarangani might lend his services to the DOT for free.
Supporting Pineda’s proposal, Rep. Aurelio Gonzales (3rd District, Pampanga) moved to make the boxing champ the official DOT endorser.
The committee chaired by Rep. Lucy Torres-Gomez (4th District, Leyte) unanimously approved Gonzales’ motion.
Also during the hearing, officials of the DOT and its attached agencies namely, the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the Tourism Promotions Board (TPB) briefed House members on the state of the country’s tourism industry and their tourism plans and programs.
Torres-Gomez said the committee takes cognizance of the issues and concerns that are vital to the promotion and development of the country’s tourism industry.
Torres-Gomez cited there are more than 40 House bills filed seeking to declare the various areas in the country as tourism zones and destinations.
“These are very important to House members for the development of local tourism in their respective districts. We will certainly take immediate action on these measures,” said Torres-Gomez.
She said among the measures of national importanceare bills seeking better assistance, services, and protection to international tourists visiting the country; granting travel tax discount or exemption to groups such as senior citizens, persons with disabilities (PWDs), official country representatives to international sports events, academic conferences, and beauty pageants; and seeking the imposition of environmental fee or green fee for the preservation, conservation, development, and protection of the country’s national heritage sites and treasures.