The scheduled meeting to discuss on Wednesday afternoon the proposed 100-percent entrance fee increase at the Chocolate Hills Complex was postponed, said a provincial government official.
According to acting Provincial Administrator John Mitchell Boiser, the multi-agency dialogue was deferred due to the unavailability of Carmen Mayor Ricardo Toribio.
The possible increase of entrance fee at the tourist complex in Carmen from P50 to P100 was set in motion by Toribio.
Boiser noted that Toribio was unable to join the meeting due to a prior engagement, but did not elaborate on the details of the mayor’s schedule.
The public, particularly Bohol locals, started to express their opposition through social media generating hundreds of comments against the entrance fee hike since the move was announced in September.
Some netizens, meanwhile, suggested to let the complex’s administrators come up with a lower rate for locals.
“Unya kami nga mga ordinaryong tawo lang dili dollars ang income nga gusto mo tan-aw sa kanindot sa Chocolate Hills matiguwang nalang dili na makakita kay lagapak pud deritso ang pagsaka sa entrance fee,” Virgo Busyra commented through a post of DYRD Bohol ang Kasaligan Facebook page on the eyed fee hike. “Kung locals unta dapat naay discount ang mga tourist mao nay taas…naunsa pud mo oi..BE CONSIDERATE.”
Earlier, Toribio bared that the fee increase was supposed to be implemented on January 1, 2015 but the move was deferred due to ongoing repairs at the quake-hit structure.
In his letter to the Provincial Board (PB) dated September 6, 2017, Toribio cited Section 6E.02 of the town’s Revenue Code as basis for the fee hike.
The measure was passed on August 11, 2014, he said.
The mayor told the PB that it is high time for the increase to be implemented as the rehabilitation of the complex which was damaged by the 2013 earthquake has been completed.
Thirty percent of the Chocolate Hills Complex’s net income goes to the provincial government while the 70 percent goes to the local government unit of Carmen.
According to Toribio, the town’s 29 villages are also allocated sums from the LGU’s earnings for their solid waste management programs and the maintenance of barangay roads. (rt)