NegOr jumpstarts domestic tourism amid COVID-19 pandemic

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Pushing for a vibrant tourism activities in the province, Dauin LGU jumpstarts and strengthens its emerging and developing farm destination at Baslay Highland Brew Coffee Farm in Dauin town. Gov. Roel Degamo together (2nd from right) with Vice Gov. Mark Macias (3rd from right) and Dauin Mayor Galic Truita pound the bamboo tube during a traditional ceremony, with water symbolizing abundance and prosperity. (PIA Negros Oriental)

Pushing for vibrant tourism activities in the province, Negros Oriental has kicked off its domestic tourism to bring back economic and livelihood in tourism.

The province together with the municipality of Dauin gradually reopens its tourism sites for domestic tourists particularly the Baslay Highland Brew Coffee but with the adherence of minimum health and safety protocols in this time of pandemic.

In an opening ceremony, Gov. Roel Degamo together with Vice Gov. Mark Macias and Dauin Mayor Galic Truita pounded the bamboo tube with waters as traditional rites for abundance and prosperity.

Degamo said for as long as the COVID-19 vaccine is not available, it is difficult to mass gather for large tourism activities such as Buglasan Festival which is annually scheduled in October.

For now, the governor is giving importance to rural communities for farm tourism as additional income to farmers and farm workers.

The Baslay Coffee covers 120 hectares of farm plantation known for its homegrown highland brew coffee in 860 meters above sea level.

The facility serves distinctive flavour brewed coffee and is now being visited by local tourists.

Before the pandemic, the coffee shop was frequently visited by foreign tourists.

After the group of officials launched the Baslay Coffee in upland tourist destination, they moved to a beach resort to conduct an oathtaking rite for the newly-organized Dauin Resort Association, Dauin Tourism Council, and Dauin Culture and Arts Council at Silver Reef Dive Resort, Dauin.

This is to stir tourism recovery and domestic tourism with the active participation of the private sector.

Dauin is the hub of tourist sites in the province where Apo Island is known as one of the world’s best dive destinations.

However, Truita said the tourism sector is among the most badly-hit by the pandemic, thus, Dauin is set to intensify its campaign to restart tourism activities in the town.

He said the municipality has noted a shortfall in the revenue of almost 99 percent or a local income of P50-M and the unemployment rate went up to 90 percent from 30 registered resorts which are closed now.

“With the reopening today, we are putting efforts to revive various products and sites and with the cooperation of the stakeholders or private sectors, we can improve and restore the vibrant tourism before and help the town’s economic recovery amid the pandemic,” Truita said.

In support of the celebration of  World Tourism Month this September, Negros Oriental encourages the local tourism business to gradually re-open, but putting more efforts on safety and health protocols. 

Dgte to issue Q passes for ‘All Souls, Saints Days’

By Jennifer Catan-Tilos

Dumaguete City’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) plans to enforce the use of quarantine passes to control the crowds in anticipation of the influx of tens of thousands of people to the cemeteries to remember their departed loved ones on Nov. 1 and 2 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo will convene the task force next week to propose the schedule for every barangay and even those who will be coming from other towns and cities.

Representatives of the Catholic Church and management of the cemeteries will also be invited in a planning meeting.

The city has about two public and five private cemeteries whose management must also be consulted to finalize the plan and ensure its efficient implementation.

Remollo noted that the remembrance of the dead is among the most enduring tradition for Roman Catholics, thus it would be impossible to deprive the people of the chance to observe this solemn occasion.

To balance tradition and the need to observe health protocols amid the present day threat of COVID-19, it would be prudent to adopt these measures, he said.

Part of the planned measures include closing all the cemeteries on All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day to prevent the convergence of large crowds.

Holy Masses and blessing of the tombs can still be performed and encouraging the public to visit the graves of their loved ones two weeks earlier than Nov. 1 and 2 or two weeks after.

If the city is still under Modified General Community Quarantine this November, all those aged 21 years old and below and senior citizens are prohibited from going out of their homes.

Police officers and barangay watchmen will be deployed to conduct checkpoints to regulate the influx of people to ensure that only those with quarantine passes will be allowed to enter the cemeteries.

NegOr Bankers Club urges public to use online banking

By Roi Lomotan

Negros Oriental Bankers Club, Inc. Secretary Elmer Teves encourages the public to utilize online banking platforms during a PIA-IATF-EID Straight from the Source Press Briefing at IATF Media Briefing Area, BOM Office, Perdices Coliseum, Dumaguete City. (KAT/PIA7-NegOr)

A group of bankers in Negros Oriental encouraged the public to utilize online banking platforms especially during this time of pandemic.

Negros Oriental Bankers Club (NORBAC), Inc. Sec. Elmer Teves invited bank clients in the province to enroll in online banking platforms, citing that all important services except for cash deposit can be done at internet banking portals.

“If you can only explore the beauty of online banking maka-ingon ka (you will say) this this it. Everything is there you can transfer (funds) from your bank to another bank. It’s free (and has) real time credit,” Teves said.

Karon panahuna as much as possible dili unta moadto ang mga tawo sa bangko unless very urgent ug kana ra gyud manghatag ug cash deposits (As much as possible, people should limit their personal transactions in banks unless it’s very urgent or if it pertains to cash deposts). All other transactions can be done online. The online platform is very powerful,” he added.

Teves said there is still a need to raise awareness on the benefits of online banking since most people in the province are still practicing the traditional banking methods.

Ang dako siguro hagit (the big challenge) is for the people to be educated on the power of online banking, online platform, and ATM banking,” Teves noted.

In a similar development, the NORBAC official said the local banking industry is slowly recovering from the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nidaghan na pod ang banking transactions karon compared to the ECQ. During the ECQ, gimaba gyud namo ang banking hours which is 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. kay at the time, people are afraid. Hadlok mogawas. Naa pa tay QPasses so wala kaayo mo-transact sa bangko. Once nag-MGCQ na ta nahinay-hinay ug balik ang mga tawo sa pag-transact sa bangko (The number of people transacting with banks increased nowadays compared to during the ECQ period. We shortened the banking hours during the ECQ period from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at that time because people were afraid to go out. QPass was also imposed that time. However, when we shifted to MGCQ, people started coming out. Bank transactions have normalized),” Teves explained.

He also pointed out that the long lines seen outside the banks could be an indication that many people are now going to the banks.

Teves believes this shows that the economy is slowly recovering from the pandemic.

He said banks have already put in place measures to ensure the safety of their depositors during transactions inside their banks.