Iloilo city council unanimously approved the Iloilo City Tourism Code by integrating all tourism-related existing ordinances and measures in defining the broad tourism industry concerns, heritage sites incentives, tourism destinations including recognized programs and events and many more.
Main proponent city councilor Nielex Tupas said the code was completed recently after several months of study and consultations with the different stakeholders and those involved in the implementation of different laws regarding the tourism industry in the city.
The code defined at least 20 tourism destinations in the city including its historical, cultural and economic significance to the growth of the city such as the Fort San Pedro, Plaza Libertad, Museo de Iloilo, Plaza La Paz, Science Centrum, Iloilo National High School, Nelly Garden, Sanson-Montinola ancestral Antillan house, Magdalena Jalandoni Museo, Jaro Cathedral and plaza, Lizares Mansion-Angelicum School, Central Philippine University, Casa Mariquit, Graciano Lopez Jaena Shrine, Molo Church and plaza, Rosendo Mejica landmark, Baluarte Elementary School, Asilo de Molo, Sinamay House and Balay na Bato.
The Tourism Code has likewise recognized the institutionalized Iloilo City Tourism Council created through Executive Order 05 Series of 2003. The code also incorporated the local Cultural Heritage Conservation Council created through Ordinance 054 by defining local heritage or legacy buildings, structures or sites prescribing its use and conservation.
Incentives on heritage sites and buildings and priority areas of tourism–oriented industries are to avail of fiscal incentives such as investments of P5 million but not less than P20 million for one year incentives, P20 million but not less than P40 million for two years, P40 million to P60 million for three years and P60 million and above for four years.
The code also defined the reduction of taxes based on gross sales and receipts of the preceding calendar year for new and expanded tourism enterprise to cover first year of operation by 100 percent, second year by 75 percent, third year by 50 percent and fourth year by 25 percent.
Tupas said the non-fiscal incentives include assistance in securing additional business permits, access to financial and technical assistance program of the government and facilitating service connections with local utilities and other services.
Special permits will be granted to legitimate tourism activities in tour areas and the recognition of registration, licensing and accreditation of tourism oriented establishments.
The code also scheduled the recognized tourism programs and special events such as the holding of Dinagyang Festival every fourth Sunday and Kasadyahan every fourth of Saturday of January, Paraw Regatta every second Sunday of February, Chinese New Year, City Charter Day every August 25, New Year Countdown Fireworks Display every December 31.
The special events include the district fiestas of Arevalo, Jaro, La Paz, Molo and Mandurriao and the yearly Sinadya sa Suba. Source: Lydia Pendon