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At Large

A fragile gift for P-Noy

/ 01:23 AM December 15, 2015

ASIDE FROM honoring P-Noy as an “exemplar” of government service, especially with his policies and programs that have lifted the country’s economic prospects, the Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel also gave him a most unique and unusual “Christmas gift.”

The present is an all-glass tableau demonstrating how “tuwid na daan” has transformed the lives of Filipinos in both city and countryside.

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The fragile table-top display was made by Angeli Glass, which supplied the trophies and tokens given to Bulong guests during the media forum’s annual Christmas party.

Deedee Siytangco, one of the founders of the regular media forum, along with Inquirer’s editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc and the Bulletin’s Jullie Yap Daza, said the gift was a simple acknowledgement of P-Noy’s consistent and good-natured support for Bulong. He has been the special guest at every Christmas gathering since he became president, gamely answering all the questions put to him by the “core group” of Bulong regulars, including those about his “Coke Zero” love life.

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His wish for Filipinos this Christmas? “That all of us spend it with our loved ones in peace, prayer and togetherness.” The wish, he explained, is for himself as well, since so many Christmases or last quarters of the year had been spent in the middle of one crisis or another. Perhaps the stars will align in the President’s favor this year—as all of us pray they do for our country as well!

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IT may indeed be “more fun in the Philippines,” as the Department of Tourism proclaims, but hoteliers, among the most important stakeholders in the “sunshine industry” of hospitality and tourism, are hoping that moves to accredit and rate institutions will be held in abeyance until crucial changes are made in the program.

The House committee on tourism chaired by Rep. Rene Relampagos, in a recent hearing, voted to delay the implementation of the accreditation and rating program, pending the formulation of new accreditation standards.

Leaders of the tourism industry, including Robert Lim Joseph (of the Network of Independent Travel and Allied Services Philippines) and Emmanuel Gonzalez (managing director of Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Cebu) testified at the hearing that despite their efforts to reach out to the tourism department, little information was forthcoming.

Joseph said that when he tried to get from the DOT, particularly Undersecretary Maria Victoria Jasmin who is in charge of the project, details of the plan allegedly funded by a $7.1-million grant from the Canadian International Development Agency, she gave “vague answers” and professed ignorance about the details.

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THE motion to delay the implementation of the accreditation and rating system, forwarded by Cebu Rep. Raul del Mar, was supported by another Cebu legislator, Rep. (and former Cebu governor) Gwen Garcia, who said that “unless the standards are changed in a measurable and objective manner, there is no way this hotel rating system could be defended in a court of law.”

Garcia cited examples of the metrics used by hotel rating auditors, which she described as “subjective, impossible to measure, and open to the assessors’ wide discretion.”

Relampagos and Garcia directed Jasmin and other DOT executives present to get the inputs of industry stakeholders, led by Joseph and Gonzalez, in drafting the new rating standards which the DOT should submit to the committee in January next year when Congress returns from its Christmas break.

Garcia said she was not surprised that the hotel rating project has become controversial and conflict has arisen between hoteliers and the DOT because of the subjective method of the accreditation process.

The congresswoman showed to the committee the accreditation standards being used by assessors of the European Union, which she said can be checked and measured, as against those being used by the DOT, which she called “immeasurable, open to subjective judgment, and impractical.”

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MIGHTY Corp., the reconstituted company based on what used to be the La Campana Fabrica de Tabacos Inc. and later the Tobacco Industries of the Philippines, has won the Outstanding Corporation of the Year Award (2015-2016) from the Philippine Council of Management Research Institute Inc.

The award, said the council, was in recognition of Mighty Corp.’s achievements in both business matters and in social, cultural and religious affairs.

The last is being carried out by the Wong Chu King Foundation, named after the founder of the company who, from being a penniless immigrant from Amoy, China, built up a business empire that has been in existence for the past 70 years.

La Campana was born through the collaboration of King, Ong Lowa, Baa Dy and Ong Pay shortly after World War II, with the unwavering support of King’s family members. Though difficult, and through changing business practices and shifting public taste, the company was able to expand to three factories and is today one of the country’s biggest taxpayers.

The Wong Chu King Foundation espouses “transformation through charity” and is engaged in educational and apostolic charities, primarily in areas where tobacco farming is prevalent. The foundation provides scholarships to deserving young men and women, especially to dependents and beneficiaries of Filipino tobacco farmers.

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TAGS: At Large, Bulong-Pulungan sa Sofitel, Christmas, economy, gift, opinion, Tourism
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