Sen. Grace Poe is proposing a new way for tour guides to become accredited to help boost tourism and further lift the economy.

In a visit to La Union and Baguio City on Thursday, March 7, Poe pitched that the state-run Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) could offer "free training courses" for tour guides amid a vibrant tourism industry.

"TESDA can provide free trainings for tourists who are interested in becoming tour guides instead of paying them," said Poe in a radio interview.

Poe brought her campaign to the surfing capital of the north and the summer capital.

The Department of Tourism reported that there were 3.7 million foreign visitors who entered the Philippines during the first half of 2018, an increase of 10 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

Furthermore, 60 million Filipinos visited domestic destinations as of 2017.

Increased tourism activity also results in direct and indirect returns in terms of job creation, higher revenues for businesses and larger state revenues, Poe said, that is why tour guides play an important role in presenting the country to visitors.

"It is important that we have the best tour guides to introduce the beautiful places of the Philippines around the world ... It's a sector that the government should not forget because they can help with tourism and we will all be able to do it," Poe added.

Poe, who filed Senate Resolution No. 1025 urging various Senate committees to review the implementation of Republic Act 9593 or the Tourism Act of 2009, said that while some local governments shoulder expenses for the tour guides' trainings, others have to shell out money just to get accredited.

"RA 9593 is a relatively young law and it must be reviewed and re-assessed, including its implementation, not just to ensure a vibrant and thriving tourism in the Philippines but to also ensure that our local tour guides and various staff and personnel of tourism Enterprises are not being prejudiced by numerous fees and other reported wrongful practices in the workplace, "Poe said in filing the resolution.

Meanwhile, Poe attended a student forum at the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University-San Fernando campus where she promised on getting funding for the upgrade of the university library.

"Technology is also important so there should be a computer connected to different libraries so you can access the different collections of different libraries as well," Poe said.

"There should also be a modernization program to fund state universities and colleges for libraries ... where you can study freely, safely and comfortably," Poe added.

She then proceeded to Baguio in Benguet province where she visited the Baguio City Public Market and talked to the vendors.

Asked what inspires her to continue with her market visits, Poe said: "If we want to reach people from all over the world, this is the easiest thing to do because of the immediate success of our countrymen."

Poe said Baguio's market was also reminiscent of her childhood.

"When I was a kid, I remember, my mom brought me here to buy a dinner," Poe shared, "It's a good opportunity to buy products from here." My children and my mom are waiting for what to do I will take it for them. "

She capped her Baguio sortie with a dialogue with local officials and meeting with transport leaders.

Source: Senate of the Philippines