Saved You A Google: Tourism flourishes during Boracay closure, fair hike being implemented, and plastic straws might be banned forever

The Philippines has too many problems, honestly. From increasing transportation fares to ignoring labor laws, we can’t seem to catch a break. Keeping up with the news can get too overwhelming very quickly, so we’ve got you covered. Here are the important things that happened in the country this past week.


It’s still more fun in the Philippines despite Boracay closure

With Boracay closing down for six months due to environmental problems, it’s almost expected that tourism would go down for the country overall since the island has a major role in the economy. However, DOT spokesperson Bong Bengzon stated that there was an increase of tourists by 10.24% from last year during the period of January to May. Despite Boracay closing down in late April, statistics show that there were more tourists in May 2018 than in May 2017 with 537,743 and 532,757 visitors respectively.

The country with the most tourists coming into the country is South Korea, with the second being China, according to the Department of Tourism. The number of Chinese tourists also increased this year by 43.81%, which was caused by the Philippines’ recent ~friendly~ relations with the country.

Boracay is set to reopen in late October and the government has advised businesses to accept bookings during and after then. Those visiting the island might face an increased environmental fee from the usual P75. Some local government officials are pushing for a P500 fee, while others are advising against it, saying that efforts should be focused on making sure the rehabilitation finishes on time.


Every piso counts with new fare hike

Jeepney fares have increased from P8 to P9, as seen in an order from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board last July 6, 2018. Those traveling in jeepneys in Metro Manila, Central Luzon, and Calabarzon have been affected by this P1 hike for the first four kilometers. The LTFRB said that this increase was due to rising oil prices.

There has also been confusion regarding the fare discount for students, PWDs, and senior citizens because of the hike. The LTFRB stated that they have 20% off, meaning they technically have to pay P7.2 (#mathwizard). A number of jeepney drivers were reported to have charged P8 however, basically only giving a piso discount. So, anuna @ LTFRB?


Another mayor killed

Last July 11, a vice-mayor from Tawi-Tawi was gunned down in Zamboanga city by two unknown assailants. The death of Vice Mayor Al Rashid Mohammad Alih is just one of the multiple attacks directed towards officials from local governments. This past month, three other mayors and vice-mayors were killed in separate incidents. On July 7, Vice Mayor Alex Lubigan of Trece Martires City, Cavite was also shot along with his bodyguard. Tanauan City Mayor Antonio Halili and Nueva Ecija Mayor Ferdinand Bote were also murdered last July 2 and July 3 respectively.

The PNP says any connections between the killings have yet to be found. As of the moment, none of the attackers have been identified or apprehended.


New bill proposes ban on plastic straws and stirrers

Senator Risa Hontiveros recently pushed for Senate Bill 1866 which helps reduce plastic waste. In this bill, establishments will not be allowed to use plastic straws and stirrers unless customers with disabilities require them. Fines will be put into place for those who break the ban. First-time offenders will be charged P50,000 and the highest punishment being the suspension of a business permit plus an additional fee.

The bill has yet to be passed, but it lines up with the initiative of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to reduce single-use plastics. Bill 1866 may seem like it would play just a small part in saving the environment, since straws only make up a tiny portion of ocean waste, but it’s a good start. Even acts like bringing your own tumbler for that daily dose of Starbucks can go a long way, especially considering that the Philippines is the third largest generator of plastic trash in the ocean.


Jollibee stocks go down due to contractualization issue

In a list released by the Department of Labor and Employment last May, Jollibee Foods Corporation (JFC) ranked one for the most number of workers affected by endo and were then ordered by the government office to regularize its 6,482 workers. Despite this, the corporation insisted that they are following the labor laws when dealing with “reputable” service contractors.

Many people are boycotting the famous fast-food chain, along with with protests coming from workers themselves under the #BEEastmode campaign that plans to snub the corporation and other establishments affiliated with it. The result was a plunge in JFC’s stocks by 3.85%, which proves that the power is truly in the hands of the people, and not with the Bee.


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