Governor Hilario P. Davide III will continue the Suroy Suroy Sugbo. However, Davide said the countryside tourism program,which he inherited from the previous administration, would have some modifications.
According to Davide, changes were already introduced during the tenure of then acting Governor Agnes Magpale. “This time the tourists will really have sufficient time to appreciate the locality before their next stop. Participation of the local government units will be on a voluntary basis. We want to be more prudent with fiscal management,” Davide added.
For now though, Davide said they have not yet planned when to hold the next SuroySuroy, which has been institutionalized by a provincial ordinance.
With the ordinance, a commission was also formed to oversee the organization including the expenses of the program. This is because the program has been criticized for being lavish, with no clear returns of investment.
The program incurred P7.6 million expenditures last year and the non-paying guests of the tourism caravan outnumbered the paying ones.
In the July 15 provincial board session, Magpale who is now serving as vice governor, put on record the Commission on Audit (COA) 7’s observation of the program for the year 2012.
In its report, COA said the implementation of the of the SuroySuroySugbo Program in 2012 incurred unnecessary and extravagant expenditures due to the lack of guidelines that would set the criteria in the selection of and expenses to be incurred for non-paying participants.”
Under the previous administration, the program had four episodes; one for south, north, west, and another for the Camotes group of islands. (Xerxes Alkuino)