The Cebu Provincial Board (PB) approved the proposed amendments on the Suroy Suroy Sugbo ordinance on second reading last Monday, October 7.
Some of the amendments include the proper acknowledgement of the persons behind the countryside tourism program.
It corrected the accompanying resolution of the 2012 ordinance entitled; “An Ordinance Rationalizing and Institutionalizing the Suroy Suroy Sugbo Program of Cebu Province,” which recognized former Governor Gwendolyn Garcia as the inventor of the program in 2004.
In the amended accompanying resolution, it stated that the Suroy Suroy Sugbo was first launched in “2005 by the Balik Cebu Group as part of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Cebu Business Month celebration that year…”.
After its maiden launching, Garcia, who now serves as third district representative, adopted the program as a Provincial Tourism project.
PB Member Arleigh Sitoy, who sponsored the ordinance, also inserted the provision of the trust fund upon which all funds including the proceeds collected from the payment of the tourists are deposited.
The composition of the Suroy Suroy Sugbo commission was also amended to include Balik Cebu Core Group and the president or representative of Hotels, Resorts, and Restaurants Association of Cebu (HRRAC), the chairman or representative of National Association of Independent Agencies, and the president of Cebu Tourism Officers Association (CTOA).
In addition to the functions of the provincial tourism officer, he/she will also act as the executive director of the commission. One of the executive director’s functions is to accept bookings per Suroy Suroy visit and endorse the same to the Provincial Treasurer for payment.
Sitoy clarified that the program is “not a business enterprise but was designed to draw tourists from the mainstream to the countryside and catalyze allied development programs through cooperative efforts between public and private enterprises as a spin-off of the project.”
Suroy Suroy Sugbo is a tour caravan that literally brings the tourists to the scenic spots in the towns and component cities.
It is organized into four clusters: Southern Cluster-Talisay City and around the southern part of Cebu or initially offered as the Southern Heritage Trail; Northern Cluster-North Cebu and Bantayan Island packaged or the Northern Escapade; Camotes Cluster-Poro, Tudela, Pilar and San Francisco as Discovering Enchanting Camotes; Urban Cluster-Mandaue City, Lapu-lapu City and Cordova as Urban Adventure; and Hillyland and Midwest-Tabuelan, Tuburan, Asturias, Balamban, Toledo City, Pinamungajan, Aloguinsan as Explore the Midwest package.
Cebu Governor Hilario P. Davide III recognizes tourism as a key industry. According to Davide, the provincial government will encourage and develop a sustainable strategy to ensure that host municipalities reap the greatest benefit from tourism in their own locality. Its thrusts include developing the capacities of towns and small communities to attract and host visitors. (Xerxes Alkuino)