The Cebu Provincial Government will file a complaint against a Canadian national who discredited a policy in line with the resuscitation of tourism activities.
Lee Gallant, who claimed to be the president of the Malapascua Business Association, resisted public policies of the Cebu Province when he petitioned against the centralization of a tourism booking portal.
The central online portal – discover.cebu.gov.ph/tours – is run and managed by the Provincial Tourism Office to control the number of visitors to tourist attractions. This is based on Executive Order No. 20-A on the mandatory health protocols, standards, and guidelines under Modified General Community Quarantine risk classification.
Despite consultative meetings carried out prior to the signing of EO 20-A on July 23, Gallant campaigned against the booking policy. He called other resort owners for support and initiated a gathering of barangay chairmen in Moalboal town to rally behind him.
“It’s a political act. Pwede gyud ni siyang makiha nato or ma-file-an nato og complaint with the Bureau of Immigration ug pwede ni siya ma-declare nga undesirable alien,” according to Atty. Donato Villa Jr., chief of the Provincial Legal Office.
“Kay ngano man nga manghilabot man siya sa public policies nga alien man ni siya. Wa gyud ni siya’y katungod manghilabot. He has the right to speak what he thinks, pero dili ingon ana nga kumbinsihon niya ang uban, nga mag-campaign siya against certain policies sa gobyerno,” Atty. Villa said.
Gallant, in a letter, pointed out “potential issues and problems with the booking portal.”
However, Provincial Legal Consultant Atty. Rory Jon Sepulveda said that the content of Gallant’s letter does not support his opposition.
“Wala man gyud siya’y gibasehan; kay ang iyang gikahadlokan nga mahibaw-an ang iyang kita,” he said.
He also pointed out that the association Gallant represents has no business incorporation.
In addition, Provincial Legal Consultant Atty. Benjamin Cabrido questioned “nganong mahadlok man siya nga wala ma’y bayad ang atong portal nga gipadagan sa atong Tourism (Office), nga consistent pud sa atong IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force). Kon tan-awon ni nato siya, policy ni siya sa government para mag-open ta’g balik.”
“Dili man ni ingon nga dili ta gusto i-criticize, but ang problema man gud ang manner,” Atty. Cabrido pointed out.
He added that this incident should serve as a fair warning to other foreigners investing in the Province that an investigation of their operations will be carried out.
“Among lantawon kinsa ang mga nanag-iya, in trust ba kini, who are the beneficial owners, dili lang registered owners. Naa ni circumvention sa balaod, mangasawa og Filipina nya front lang ang Filipina. Ato na ni siyang undangon kay kini sila --- ang kwarta sa Pilipino padulong ra pud nila,” Atty. Cabrido added. (Eleanor Valeros)