Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Privatize Banaue Rice Terraces?

picture taken from

I can't believe what I read at GMANews.TV which reported that an influential business group wants the government to privatize a handful of the country's major tourist spots, a move that they said will ensure the preservation of the areas.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president and appointed tourism private sector chief Samie Lim said the Philippine Tourism Authority should sell some of its major assets which have the potential to become even more attractive to both foreign and local visitors.

Among those spots that should be privatized are the Banaue Rice Terraces, Picnic Grove and Palace in the Sky in Tagaytay City and Burnham Park in Baguio City.

Banaue Rice Terraces to be privatized? Well, I don't have problems with the Picnic Grove and Burnham Park to be privatized... but an "ancient" natural wonder (well it's man made technically) to be privatized is kinda below the belt. I believe that the government should let the private sector manage parks and beach resorts in able for them to be more tourist friendly and accessible (I don't know why but I find government managed parks and resorts are not that tourist friendly). Just an analogy... Would China privatize the Great Wall?

Lim said that by having private groups to manage the destinations, the country could have a better chance of attaining its goal of hitting some 10 million tourists arrivals by 2010. Department of Tourism (DOT) data showed the country accommodates an average of 3 million tourists annually.

Apart from this proposal, Lim is also raising the possibility of privatizing all the government-controlled duty-free shops. I don't have a problem with that,

You can privatized all you want but leave Banaue and other natural wonders alone.



the donG said...

i simply agree with you. okay nga lang talaga ang mga man made tourist spots pero ang banaue malabo.

tsaka baka bigla pang ibenta pag iba na ang humahawak.

Lawstude said...

I am kind torn here. If the local government and the PTA could do its part and job in preserving this natural wonder, then, there is no more need for its privatization. Maybe what is needed is a wake-up call.

kegler747 said...

@ the dong: It's public property and should forever remain that way. Any private entity can invest in any way to improve the site but the ownership should still be in favor of the government.

kegler747 said...

@ lawstude: The PTA don't have a good track record in even managing resorts like those in Pangasinan and Leyte so I don't expect them to manage well any natural wonder, including the Banaue Rice Terraces.

grumpyurbanslacker said...

i don't really watch TV, but my guess is that what Samie Lim was saying is essentially, instead of the government (thru the PTA) administering the Banaue Rice Terraces, a private entity should do it instead.

So it doesn't really mean that the government will sell the BRT to a private corp., i guess its more like hiring an outside company to oversee it and maximize its tourism potential.

personally, its an idea worth trying. A private entity (with profit motive) will come up with creative ideas on how to market the BRT, and get more people to visit it.

that's the way to go, if we are to solve the problem of young people not wanting to tend the terraces and go to Manila instead. There is simply no economic opportunity for them.

travelphilippines said...

1 million duh to those who wish to privatize the banaue rice terraces.

kegler747 said...

@ grumpyurbanslacker: I hope you're right with that. PTA has yet to prove that they are good in managing tourist sites.

kegler747 said...

@ travelphilippines: Let me add an additional 1 million "duh."