The City Tourism Department (CTD) is advising tourists planning to spend their holidays in Puerto Princesa to seek out their seals as a means to ensure that the tourism-related establishments (TREs) where they choose to stay are fully compliant and adhere to the standards for service provision.
This is to prevent falling victim to online scammers who masquerade as legitimate travel agencies but have the intention of deceiving unsuspecting individuals solely for monetary gain, CTD Standards and Services Division head Cyril Faith Negosa warned during the Amos Ta Ren sa Puerto Princesa radio show on June 2.
Negosa said that their seals, which are in purple color, mean that tourists are safe in fully compliant TREs, or those accredited by the Department of Tourism (DOT).
These TREs have insurance coverage to protect tourists in case of accidents, and adhere to standards of cleanliness, safety for amenities and facilities, among other requirements.
Negosa said that to date, there are 668 TREs that are fully compliant in Puerto Princesa to choose from. All these bear the CTD seal of compliance stickers to keep guests and visitors safe.
“Puwedeng puwede sa turista at ready mag-serve safely,” she said. “Makikita niyo sa kanila yong seal ng Puerto Princesa City Tourism Office.”
“Ngayong taon, purple ang kulay ng aming sticker. Hanapin niyo po, 2023,” she said, adding tourists should look for their seals in accommodations, restaurants, and travel agencies.
According to Negosa, tourists should not solely rely on Facebook pages that offer tourism services, even if they have a large number of followers. This is to prevent becoming a target of dishonest individuals who have no intention other than to deceive and take advantage of their hard-earned money.
Negosa reiterated that those planning to have their vacations in the city should ask for documentary requirements from the travel agencies and accommodations and should look for their seal.
“Nadiskubre ko, puwedeng bilhin—merong mga engines, nagbabayad sila para yon ang automatic na nagla-like ata. May ganoon pala, so wag kayong mag-rely lamang sa online booking,” she warned.
Negosa mentioned that the CTD has received complaints from individuals who have been defrauded by bogus travel agencies, with some cases involving amounts as high as P200,000 through online transfer and GCash payment.
She explained that the modus of online scammers is to contact guests on a daily basis, pressuring them to make immediate payments for their reservations under the threat of losing their bookings.
“Ngayon may latest, P33,000 naman yong [nakuha], kakarating lang ng mga bisita. Ito po ay kasiraan sa tourism natin,” she said, stating further that there is a travel agency that is now the subject of an investigation due to complaints.
“Marami po ito, di lang natin puwedeng i-reveal pa,” she added.
Negosa suggested that to avoid this, they should visit the CTD website www.puertoprincesatourism.com, which is updated weekly, to check for fully compliant accommodations, restaurants, and travel agencies.