Fifth District Board Member (BM) Binky Tupas is pushing for the creation of a provincial tourism office to “maximize the potential of Iloilo’s tourism as the main economic driver of the province.”

It’s high time for the province, according to Tupas, to create its own tourism office with a provincial tourism officer position to be appointed equivalent to a department head status, replacing the existing assistant department head post.

Last month, a committee hearing was held for Tupas’ proposed ordinance. It was attended by BM Matt Palabrica — co-author and co-sponsor of the measure — BM Jason Gonzales and BM Joan Germinanda.

Also present during the hearing were department heads of the provincial government, key leaders of the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association and representatives from the local government units (LGUs).

The “high-impact” ordinance is scheduled for committee reporting and second reading this month.

The measure likewise seeks to identify the functions of the provincial and municipal tourism offices to streamline the programs, projects and activities.

Moreover, it mandates the LGUs to create their own tourism offices and plantilla positions for tourism officers and if possible for them to establish an organizational structure for effective management.

The proposed “Iloilo Provincial Tourism Office” is backed by Department of Tourism (DOT-6) Regional Director Crisanta Marlene Rodriguez.

DOT-6, Rodriguez said, was consulted in the drafting of the proposed ordinance and provided guidance, legal basis and references to aid the local legislators.

“The creation of the tourism office and presence of a permanent tourism officer will definitely help the development and promotion of tourism that will eventually generate significant economic benefits for the province,” she stressed.IMT