Capitol halts Choco Hills entry fee hike

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Capitol halts Choco Hills entry fee hike

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The provincial government puts the brake to the plan of municipal government here to increase the entrance fee of the Chocolate Hills complex.

The fact remains that the Choco Hills complex situated in barangay Buenos Aires is still owned by the provincial government but operated by this town on a 70-30 share of the net income under an agreement. 

In an e-mail received by this writer, the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) passed Resolution No. 2015-123, “Urging the Honorable Mayor Ricardo Francisco A. Toribio of Carmen, Bohol to hold in abeyance the implementation of the increase of entrance fee rate at the Chocolate Hills Complex.”

The said measure was sponsored by Hon. Venzencio B. Arcamo; co-sponsored by the Honorable Presiding Officer, Vice-Governor Concepcion O. Lim, the e-mail sent by SP Secretary Bonifacio Quirog, said.

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The said letter to the mayor of this town cited as reason that the proposed imposition of  the entrance fee of the complex  “increase deserves further consultation, not only within the Municipality of Carmen, but also with other stakeholders in the tourism industry, more importantly, the Province of Bohol that owns the property.”

The letter to Mayor Mayor Ricardo Francisco Toribio was signed by SP secretary Quirog in behalf of Vice-Gov. Concepcion O. Lim.

The proposed increase was amounted to Php100 from used to be only Php50/person, report reaching BNT said.

 The provincial government may not own the entire complex as the town “silently” has also a claim of the complex ownership based on the alleged donation of certain part of the complex by the Bureau of Fiber administration.

The complex draws thousands of visitors each year to view the wonder in the Chocolate Hills as far as eyes can see. The complex is managed by the municipal government of Carmen under an agreement.

Both parties (province and Carmen) executed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on August 30, 1993 to effect the arrangement.

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The MOA provides that Carmen shall take responsibility in the management and operations of the complex but it “shall manage in an interim capacity effective upon the signing of the MOA, until such time the provincial government can adopt the conceptual plan of development of the complex, but not earlier than one year after the date of effectivity.”

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The report said that even after the stints of then Gov. now Cong. Rene Relampagos and then Gov. Erico Aumentado, the MOA was not not renewed. It’s almost five years that Gov. Chatto has reigned but the MOA was not yet renewed, the report said.

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