The Provincial Economic Enterprise Development Office (PEEDO) explained Monday that the hike in entrance fee rates for tourists visiting the Calauit Safari Park in Busuanga is necessary to address the backlog in its facility maintenance and to improve other visitor services.
PEEDO chief Dr. Myrna O. Lacanilao explained that the increase in park entrance rates is necessary for the planned April rehabilitation project.
The new park entrance rate was implemented on January 7, 2019, she said.
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“Ang laki-laki ng Calauit at kailangan ‘yon ma-maintain. Hindi na rin nakakahiya na mag-increase tayo ng P100 kasi may development tayong pinaghahandaan. Actually, ‘yong funds na ‘yan ay kulang na kulang dahil mayroon tayong mga tao na sini-swelduhan, pagkain ng mga hayop at iba pa. Kaya nagsisikap tayo dahil ayaw naman sana natin na sobrang dependent tayo sa internal revenue allotment (IRA) na binibigay ng gobyerno,” she said.,” said Lacanilao.
(Calauit is so big, we need to maintain it. It’s not shameful to implement a P100 increase because we’re preparing for its development. Actually, funds are not enough because we’re paying the salaries of employees, animal food, and others. This is the reason why since we do not want to depend so much on the IRA that the government is allotting.)
She made the clarification following the comment of a netizen in a Palawan News article posted on January 22 that said Calauit Safari Park increased the rate to P400 for locals and P600 for foreigners.
“Wala pa nga na-iimprove at nababawasan pa bilang ng animals sa park, FYI this January dinoble na nila agad ang entrance fee rate ng local P400 at Foreign P600, wala na din libre na senior citizen tulad ng dati, entrance fee pa na pakahirap ang sistema sa pag Kuha at yung tawid ng bangka taasan na din ng singil, kaya inaaayawan na ipromote ng mga travel agency eto. Di manlang daw makipagcoordinate sa kanila [sic],” netizen Edward Llanes De Leon said.
(The park has not improved anything and the number of its animals are dwindling, FYI this January they doubled the entrance fee rate to P400 for locals and P600 for foreigners, there’s no more free entrance for senior citizens like in the past, the system to follow to enter is so hard, even going across through boats will also increase, that’s why travel agencies do not want to promote it anymore. There was no coordination made about the increase.)
Lacanilao said there is no truth to De Leon’s claim because the new required fees are only P200 to P300 for entrance fee, Safari Tour fee from P100 to P125 and the environmental fee which remained at P100.
Filming and documentary for locals are P7,500 and P10,000 for foreigners. She said the 20 percent discount for the senior citizens, and the discounts for students and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are all being enforced.
Lacanilao explained the rehabilitation of the Calauit Safari Park and the construction of additional facilities that will cost around P5.2 million are for its own good.
“In the past, P400,000 lang [ang budget] para sa pagkain ng lahat ng hayop doon the whole year tapos ang medicines nandoon na din. So marami tayong kailangang ayusin and saan natin kukunin ito kung we live on the old rate,” Lacanilao added.
(In the past, the budget for the food of the animals for the whole year was only P400,000 including medicines. There’s a lot of things to fix there and where will we get the money if we still live on the old rate.)
Lacanilao further said that the safari park will not close operation while the rehabilitation is being implemented since the area is large enough and construction will be far from where the animals take shelter.
“Hindi natin isasara. Napakalaki ng area. Hindi natin guguluhin ang mga hayop kasi ang construction ay nasa isang side and then all these animals are on the other side (We will not close it. The area is so large. We will not disturb the animals because the construction will be on a different side while these animals are on the other side),” she pointed out.
She added that the bidding is now ongoing for the veterinary hospital, dormitory, information center, administration building, restrooms, and the animal shelters.
Lacanilao said the safari park’s resident animals are 21 giraffes, 27 zebras, 24 elands, and 21 waterbucks. It also has Calamian deer, mouse deer, birds, and other Palawan endemic animals. (With reports from Celeste Anna Formoso)