Stating that he has been spending his own money for his out of town travels recently, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque says he has been doing this to help promote local tourism.
“To be honest, mostly sariling bulsa [ang gastos] kasi my office only has around P800 thousand budget,” Roque told the reporters when asked who spends for his travels.
Roque, last week was seen in Bantayan Island in Cebu province, where he has drawn flak from the netizens after he was pictured with a huge crowd, allegedly violating social distancing protocol.
He had previously traveled to Ocean Adventure in Subic, Zambales and Bohol.
After he posted his picture while in a beach in Sitio Talaudyong in Barangay Bacungay in Puerto Princesa City, Roque also clarified on Thursday that individuals from general community quarantine (GCQ) areas may be allowed to travel in modified GCQ (MGCQ) areas.
“Inter-classificastion travel, GCQ to MGCQ travel, ay allowed ng inter-agency task force (IATF). Open to all tourist under the bubble approach,” Roque told Palawan News on Thursday press briefing.
Amounting to at least 36 percent of gross domestic income, Puerto Princesa City and Palawan were putting in efforts to slowly revive its tourism industry which has suffered at least P150 billion unrealized income since the onset of pandemic and travel restrictions mid-March.
Roque also praised local authorities for the tight health protocols being implemented throughout Puerto Princesa City and Palawan, after several local destinations announced gradual reopening of tourism industry.
“Impressed ako sa procedures na ginawa sa airport, sa mga restaurants, at sa mga lugar na aking napuntahan. Mukha naming handa ang Palawan,” Roque said.
During the last stretch of November, El Nido has reopened to domestic travelers under the “tourism bubble” set-up, which was crafted in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT). A similar system was replicated from Baguio, Cebu, and Bohol, which the department had previously announced as a success.
On December 1, several Palawan towns, including San Vicente, Busuanga, and Coron, have also announced tourism reopening.
Puerto Princesa City, on the other hand, is set to reopen to local tourists, or those from within the mainland Palawan, by December 8 as it eyes to reopen to domestic travel some time in 2021.