By: Saul Pa-a
CALAMBA CITY, Laguna — Tourism stakeholders in the Calabarzon region are now assured of the “Health in Tourism” (HiT) program following the forging of a tripartite agreement to avert tourism-related incidents, such as drowning, and tourists’ health concerns.
The memorandum of agreement (MOA) on HiT provides for combined and collaborative efforts by three agencies — the regional health and tourism offices, and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) — to improve the security and safety of tourists and the community through appropriate training and information campaign.
Department of Health 4-A (Calabarzon) Director, Dr. Eduardo Janairo; Department of Tourism (DOT) 4-A Director Marites Castro; PCG – National Capital Region (NCR)-Luzon Commander Artemio Abu; and PCG-District Southern Tagalog Commander Leovigildo Panopio, sealed the pact at the New World Hotel Manila Bay in Malate, Manila on Monday.
“Through this partnership, we can ensure the implementation of HiT objectives and utilize the program as an instrument in protecting the people from hazards and risks that could endanger their health and safety,” Janiaro remarked.
He explained that the agreement enables both public and private stakeholders involved in tourism activities in the region, such as resorts and hotels with pools, to provide trained lifeguards or rescue personnel to be able to reduce drowning incidents.
As part of the HiT program, the three agencies assist owners of tourism-related establishments (TREs) to have their own lifeguards through the Lifeguard Qualification Training Course to be conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard.
“The DOT will then ensure that all TREs in the region will be accredited and in compliance with their rules and regulations to be able to become beneficiaries of the HiT program,” Janairo added.
Under the HiT program, a beneficiary or a TRE must conform with the criteria set by the regional office, including accreditation from the DOT, such as assessments of the TREs according to laws related to the health and the safety of tourists.
“Safety and security are vital factors in providing quality in tourism. The success or failure of a tourist destination depends on the TREs being able to provide a healthy, safe, and secure environment for their visitors,” he said.
Janairo further said the tripartite agreement provides the proper environment and develops a program of safe services for tourists that will contribute to a valuable economic return not only for the tourism industry, but for the region as well.
Castro committed to conducting strict assessments of TREs and implement rules and regulations on the safety and security of tourists in the region.
The PCG officials also pledged full support for the program, especially in training lifeguards for TREs.
Regional Health in Tourism coordinator Shiela Blancaver, also said partnership augurs well in ensuring health and wellness among tourism stakeholders in the region, which is home to various top tourism destinations in the country.
Calabarzon consists of the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon. (PNA)