Bohol gov suspends trips to Virgin Island amid ‘overpriced’ sale of seafood

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) – Bohol Governor Aris Aumentado has ordered the temporary suspension of trips to Virgin Island in Panglao after the alleged overpriced sale of seafoods in the area went viral online.

Aumentado on Tuesday expressed his dismay over the incident, which was uncovered after a viral Facebook post showed a group of tourists were charged over ₱26,000 for the seafoods that they ordered. 

“We are grateful to Social Media because it has given us a solid reason for the Sangguniang Panlalawigan to craft resolutions or ordinances that can provide protection and order to tourists that have been exploited for a long time by some businessmen in Panglao and other cities,” the governor said in his own social media post

The Region 7 office of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) issued a statement on Tuesday that they are also investigating the overcharging of food meals.

The DENR regional office added they are also coordinating with the Protected Area Management Board of the Panglao Island Protected Seascape (PIPS) in the investigation.

Virgin Island is part of the PIPS, which was established in pursuant to Republic Act No. 11038 or the Expanded National Integrated Protected Area Systems Law.

Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said her office is coordinating with the Department of Trade and Industry to set reasonable price standards on provision of tourist goods and services in response to the incident.

"While the DOT understands the current predicament and challenges faced by many tourism-related businesses and establishments that are gradually recouping losses due to previously imposed travel restrictions, I believe that due care must always be given to the overall experience of tourists whether it concerns upholding the quality of accommodations, attaining a certain level of service, or ensuring the reasonable pricing of products," Frasco said in her statement released on Tuesday night.