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DoT seeks additional budget to preserve tourist sites

First Posted 17:59:00 09/08/2008

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MANILA, Philippines -- The Department of Tourism is seeking an additional budget for the preservation of the country?s tourist attractions, especially for the Banaue Rice Terraces from the House of Representatives.

During the budget deliberation, Ifugao Representative Solomon Chungalao proposed to the committee on appropriations that DoT be given more funds to preserve the rice terraces, one of the Philippines? nominations to the New Seven Wonders of the World.

In his appeal to lawmakers, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano said the Department of Budget and Management had turned down their P44-million proposal for the restoration of the Banaue Rice Terraces.

?The Rice Terraces should be one of the concerns that DoT should address. It has been neglected by the people now,? Chungalao said.

Durano said the DoT has been trying to preserve the 2000-year-old historical landmark but lacked funds.

Chungalao told the committee that the number of tourists visiting the area had dramatically decreased because the government had not been able to maintain the tourist site while locals have moved to other places because the area was no longer economically viable.

DoT has a proposed budget P1.52 billion for 2009 or an increase of 2.4 percent from the 2008 budget of P1.37 billion. Included in the proposal was the P774 million budget for international tourism promotions in countries like South Korea; Canada; Taiwan; Hong Kong; Singapore; United Kingdom and Malaysia.

The DoT is also targeting the arrival of at least 3.4 million tourists from 20 countries, including Japan, China, United States, India, and Europe.

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