“Nasaan ang hustisya?” Mountain guide slams Tanay tourism, LGU for taking over hiking operations

Hikers enjoy the scenery in Tanay’s mountains (File photo by Alvine Garcia Aurelio)

The Municipality of Tanay, Rizal is home to various mountains that hikers have visited and promoted in the past two years – from Mt. Maynoba and Mt. Batolusong to more challenging ones like Mt. Irid and Tukduang Banoi. However, the hiking community erupted into an uproar over the Tanay Tourism Office and local government’s unilateral decision to raise fees from P40 to P100.

Apparently, it is not just the mountaineers that are affected.

A mountain guide, whose name we are not mentioning for his protection, wrote to Pinoy Mountaineer and we are quoting his thoughts in full:

Good day sir ako po ay isang guide sa tanay kami sa amin mismong sahan ay tutol sa dagdag singil dahil alam namin aalis ang aming mga turista na kung saan marami ang nakinabang at nagkaroon ng hanapbuhay. isa pa po ang mga pamunuan ng nawalan narin dahil po ang nangungulekta napo ng registrations at lahat ng fees ay ang pamunuan ng ng tourism ng tanay subra po kmi naapektohan para kaming bata na pinatikim ng lollipop matapos malasahang matamis inagaw samin sana matulungan nyo kmi na mabalik samin mga pinaghirapan namin tingnan po nyo nung kami naggagawa ng trail, ng mga hagdan at maayus na daan sa mga training at seminar nasaan ang mga tulong nila tapos ngaun na ayus na saka kukunin nila nasan ang hustisya….

Other guides in various barangays have also given the similar feedback, lamenting the loss of livelihood and disruption in the good relationship they have forged with the mountaineers over the past couple of years.

For their part, the Tanay LGU has explained that the fees with the following:

(1) Increasing tourist arrivals require more facilities, hiring of manpower, medical staff, emergency vehicles, and other expenditures.

(2) Indigenous peoples deserve a share of the revenue

Based on the newly-passed ordinance, 50 pesos goes to the municipality, 30 pesos goes to the barangay, and 20 pesos goes to the indigenous peoples’ communities.

Pinoy Mountaineer disagrees with the Tanay tourism office and local government, issuing the following statement on Facebook:

We lament the lack of consultation or advance notice leading to this unilateral decision. Moreover, we think that this is too much for a dayhike and too expensive for hikers.

Registration fees must be REASONABLE and FAIR to hikers, who are also important stakeholders in ecotourism. There must also be ACCOUNTABILITY on how they are spent. (Actually, in many countries and ideally for the Philippines, taxpayers’ money suffice for the maintenance of many hiking destinations – but as a compromise to local communities, we acquiesce to fees but they have to be reasonable).

The Tanay government knows that the hiking community has become an important source of income and livelihood for them and it is only right that they should take our views into consideration. Indeed, this has to be a two-way relationship: the only way we can continue supporting and promoting ecotourism in their jurisdiction is if they would in turn recognize our legitimate concerns.
We are thus calling on the LGU of Tanay, Rizal to rescind or amend this ordinance. Mountaineers can help convince the LGU to do so by calling the number provided below: 942-7174 local 305; by reaching out directly to people you know in the municipality; or by sharing this post so that it reaches more people.

Update: The Tanay Tourism Office has acknowledged the Pinoy Mountaineer statement, and Mr. Jeff Pino, the head of tourism, has said they will discuss it with the LGU authorities. Let us await their decision and hopefully we can come up with a win-win solution.

For more feedback email info@pinoymountaineer.com.

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