The local government unit (LGU) of Carmen cancelled its planned implementation of a 100-percent entrance fee hike at the Chocolate Hills Complex during the first day of the year, said a town official.
Nathaniel Binlod, the tourist complex’s manager, told dyRD Balita that Mayor Ricardo Toribio decided on New Year’ Eve to defer the increase of fee at the view deck for the world-famous hills from P50 to P100.
This was after the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on December 22 filed a resolution urging Toribio to hold the fee hike as formal talks among stakeholders were yet to be conducted.
According to Binlod, the Carmen LGU only received the SP’s formal appeal on December 29.
He said that Toribio is ready to hold a dialogue with provincial officials within the month.
On December 20, a multi-agency panel led by Governor Edgar Chatto was supposed to discuss the fee hike but the meeting was postponed.
Toribio was reportedly unavailable during the scheduled meeting which was expected to be attended by Provincial Tourism Council chair Lucas Nunag and SP tourism committee chair Board Member Kristine Alexie Tutor.
Since the fee hike was announced in September, the public, particularly Bohol locals, started to express their opposition through social media generating hundreds of comments against the LGU’s plan.
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.”
Meanwhile, Binlod bared that the Chocolate Hills Complex surpassed its projected gross income for 2017 by 41 percent.
According to Binlod, they targeted a gross income of P36 million but were able to generate P51 million.
He said that for 2018, the complex’s administration aims at raising the gross income to P60 million.
Chinese and Koreans were the most frequent visitors at the tourist destination in 2017, he added. (R. Tutas)