23,000 Central Visayas workers to get DOT-DOLE cash aid

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TOURISM Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat announced Friday, April 30, that 23,293 displaced tourism workers from Central Visayas have been approved to receive cash assistance under the Department of Tourism (DOT)-Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Cash Assistance Program of the Bayanihan 2 amounting to P116,465,000.

Bohol Province recorded 8,513 workers who have availed themselves of the cash assistance program; 11,327 from Cebu Province; 1,564 from Negros Oriental, and 1,889 workers from Siquijor.

Each displaced tourism worker received P5,000.

In Friday’s virtual awarding of certificates, 1,594 beneficiaries from 16 Bohol-based establishments were acknowledged, with workers coming from tourism support services, resorts, restaurants, community-based tourism organizations (CBTO) and transportation, among others.

“These are but a few of the many programs the DOT has taken part or initiated to help the tourism industry of Bohol recover. We are counting on the continued support of our LGUs (local government units) and the private sector to spur recovery forward,” said Puyat in her opening message.

Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, who also attended the virtual ceremony, said the province continues to prepare for an eventual reopening. “We also did our best in trying to give support as well to tourism operators and tourism transport operators. All the DOT guidelines, certifications, and rules were all included in the provincial ordinance when we crafted our own Ultimate Bohol Experience (UBE) seal for the guidance of all our operators.”

The UBE seal is the Provincial Government’s seal of good housekeeping for all tourism establishments.

One of the beneficiaries from Bohol, Greatyl Garganian of Balicasag Island Dive Resort, said, “Dahil po sa lockdown, walang mga turista at bisita ang resort. Ang iba sa amin ay nawalan ng trabaho, habang ang iba naman ay nabawasan ang araw ng pagtatrabaho. Kaya po malaking tulong itong cash assistance na naibigay.”

Puyat also revealed the DOT’s programs and products to jumpstart the revival of tourism in the province of Bohol, such as the development of “Farm, Fork, and Fitness: A Mountain to Sea Circuit to Wellness,” the Bohol Province Run featuring outdoor adventure trails, and the Bohol Culinary Circuit underscoring the gastronomic traditions of Panglao, Loon, Jagna, Loay, and Baclayon.

“At each of our destinations, we are collaborating with local government units, stakeholders and tourism workers, and the local communities to develop tourism destination products that will jumpstart the revival of tourism,” Puyat said.

As of April 15, there were 1,045 DOT-accredited accommodations in Central Visayas, an increase of 541.10 percent compared to the same period last year. Of this number, 264 are in Bohol. (PR)