File phpto courtesy of City Sports Puerto Princesa

City authorities have appealed to tricycle drivers servicing visitors arriving this week for the Batang Pinoy athletic event not to practice fare overcharging.

Atty. Gregorio Austria, city sports director and in charge of coordinating the Batang Pinoy national finals set on August 25 to 31, expressed concern regarding reports of alleged abusive tricycle drivers taking advantage of visitors coming to major events in the city.

Austria cited a recently-held prosecutor’s convention held when many of the delegates complained about high tricycle fares.

“Noong nag-convention ang mga fiscal dito ay may nakarating na reklamo sa amin na naniningil ang ating mga tricycle drivers ng napakamahal. From PLDT to Ka Lui ay P100 ang sinisingil sa kanila. Nakakahiya po,” he said.

Austria said they are expecting some 10,000 delegates to the Batang Pinoy coming from different provinces.

He also appealed to the Palawan Electric Cooperative (PALECO) to avoid any power interruption during the games.

At the same time, he called on vendors not to take advantage of the volume of the visitors to jack up their prices.

“Concerned din tayo na biglang tumaas ang mga bilihin. Siguradong pupuntahan ang ating palengke, souvenir shops at mga restaurants, baka po samantalahin,” he added.

Austria said that Batang Pinoy was supposed to be held in Bohol and Bacolod but because of some problems, the event management turned to the city instead.

“Supposedly sa Bohol gaganapin pero nagkaroon ng problema kaya sinubukan sa Bacolod pero last April ininform ako na dito na gaganapin,” he said.

He said the city government did not want to pass off the opportunity to host the games and boost the city’s tourism and business sectors.

He added that the city will also benefit from some P15 million in sporting equipment that will be handed to the city government after the event.

“Lahat ng sports equipment ay nagkakahalaga ng P15 million at iiwanan ‘yon dito sa atin. Pero isipin din natin na gagalaw ang palengke, ‘yong transport sector, hotels and restaurants, at marami pang iba. Ang inaasahang darating 10,000 at kasama doon ang mga atleta na aabot ng 6,000 from different LGUs,” he said.

On Tuesday, City Councilor Elgin Robert Damasco who chairs the committee on transportation and committee on market and slaughterhouse called for cooperation with the city government’s goal of holding a successful Batang Pinoy event.

Attending the meeting were officials of Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (TODA), City Traffic Management Office (CTMO), Land Transportation Office (LTO), City PNP, Highway Patrol Group (HPG), and vendors of new and old public market including Areza Corporation.

“May pangamba ang ating city sports na baka mapahiya na naman tayo sa ating mga turista dahil marami pa ring tricycle drivers ang naniningil ng sobrang mahal Kailangan ko po ng kooperasyon ninyo dito, 10,000 delegates ang pupunta tapos makikita nila ang sitwasyon ng ating palengke na marumi tapos ang makikita nila ay ipo-post nila sa facebook, lahat tayo apektado,” Damasco said.

The management of Areza Cruz committed to clean the old and new public markets, and the management of CTMO vowed to strictly implement traffic laws and policies.

City tourism Aileen Cynthia Amurao said Friday that all agencies are also preparing for the incoming event including the accomodations in the city.

“Kaya naman maaccomodate lahat. Hindi naman lahat ‘yan ay tutuloy sa mga accomodation kasi sa schools sila pero nainformed na natin ang lahat ng partners natin. Talagang kumbaga intense ang preparation natin dito,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Puerto Princesa City activated its Task Force Bantay Turista to focus on the welfare and security of the tourists coming to the city.

“Ang daming mga paparating na event kaya sana makipagtulungan ang lahat, patuloy ang kampanya natin bilang paghahanda sa mga malalaking events,” Amurao said.

The Batang Pinoy is a program managed by the National Sports Association under the Philippine Sports Commission.

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is the chief of correspondents of Palawan News. She covers defense, politics, tourism, health, and sports stories. She loves to travel and explore different foods.