Senate ratifies Tourism Bill
The Senate on Thursday dawn ratified the consolidated report of the Senate and the House of Representatives on the tourism measure that would grant incentives to tourism industry players, generate more jobs and increase revenues of local government units (LGUs).
Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon, principal author of the Tourism Bill, hailed the ratification by Congress of the measure, which aims to boost the country's tourism industry.
"After a long day's work, it is great to have the tourism bill finally approved by both Houses," he said.
The measure is a consolidation of Senate Bill 2213 and House Bill 5229, an act declaring a national policy for tourism as an engine of investment, employment, growth and national development and strengthening the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its attached agencies.
Gordon, a former tourism secretary, said President Arroyo is expected to sign the bill into law within the Lenten break, stressing that the measure could ward off possible effects of the global financial crisis to the country's economy.
He explained that tourism is the fastest and most efficient way of generating foreign exchange, investments and employment. Once the measure is signed into law, it will spur the creation of jobs and open additional channels for the infusion of the much-needed investments in the country's economy, he added.
"This measure will definitely boost domestic tourism as it will provide the needed infrastructures to reinvigorate local productivity. An increased productivity means more jobs for the people and more revenues for the government," Gordon said.
The senator said the measure also seeks for the establishment of "tourism enterprise zones" in strategic areas in the country to lure foreign investors and tourists to visit places rich with history and culture.
He added that LGUs would take a major role in developing these tourism enterprise zones, which will enable them to spur economic productivity and achieve higher levels of economic growth.
"With the faithful implementation of this measure, the nation can have a better institution to regulate and promote tourism and install the necessary infrastructures to make our country truly world-class," Gordon said.
"We can have more jobs for our people, who will no longer have to find for their future in foreign shores, but right here in our native Philippines," he added.