Friday , May 25, 2018

Espinoza: Expensive act of rating hotels

AFTER months of soul searching and weeks of waiting, Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo finally decided to run for vice president under the Liberal Party (LP) and as running mate of LP’s standard bearer former Interior secretary Mar Roxas.

Vice President Jejomar Binay, on the other hand, after talks with Sen. Bongbong Marcos collapsed due to alleged political differences, has to settle with Sen. Gringo Honasan, who earlier called their proposed tandem a joke.

Creative netizens dubbed the tandem of Binay and Honasan as “Bi-Hon.” But VP Binay’s daughter, Senator Nancy, accepted the joke with a smile and considered it good because ang bihon “ay nakakabusog” (could fill the tummy).

Although the declared candidates in the vice presidential race have yet to file their certificates of candidacy with the Comelec, five men and a woman would be fighting for the office of the vice president in the May 2016 polls.

Those running are Nacionalista Party (NP) senators Alan Cayetano, Sonny Trillanes and Marcos, Rep. Robredo and Sens. Chiz Escudero and Honasan. The NP will have the most of candidates for vice president.

Davao City Mayor Digong Duterte hinted last week he might run for president but he hasn’t declared that formally yet so the presidential race is still among Roxas, Binay and Grace Poe-Llamanzares.

But if Mayor Duterte eventually decides to throw his hat in the presidential derby next year, he would be the only presidential candidate with two possible vice presidential bets, Cayetano and Marcos.

Senators Cayetano and Marcos, who separately visited Mayor Duterte in Davao City last week, asked the feisty city mayor to run for president with either of them as his candidate for vice president.

Senator Marcos said Duterte was gracious to promise him support if he decides to run for vice president. And Duterte’s promise of support will be reciprocated in vote-rich Ilocos Norte if he would run for president.

The LP leaders are confident that Roxas and Robredo could make it in the May 2016 polls, even if Robredo is still way behind in the surveys, because of their proven platform of government, “Tuwid na Daan.”

In a multi-party system, we will have many choices for president and vice president. However, there would be no popular president, only a majority president.


Manny Gonzales, founder and owner of Plantation Bay Resort, criticized the rating conducted by the Department of Tourism (DOT) on hotels and resorts as unnecessary and useless expense of much needed government funds.

In a press release that I was furnished a copy of, Gonzales said our government should not have spent US $7.1 million to evaluate some 700 hotels in the country because TripAdvisor, Expedia, Orbitz, and Agoda provide rating and tourists believe in them because it’s a collective wisdom of real customers who know what is important in a hotel.

The DOT has no business to rate the quality of hotels according to numerical scale that they translate into stars, Gonzales said. He asked if the DOH rates the hospitals and doctors. The idea that DOT has the legal or moral authority to rate hotels is absurd, he added.

On Feb. 11, 2013, Plantation Bay Resort sent DOT Secretary Jimenez a detailed letter explaining well that its plan to rate hotels and resorts is faulty and unnecessary but Gonzales said the DOT officials ignored their letter.

Gonzales said DOT’s checklist on rating is confused with quality to the category of hotels. It is also full of ambiguity, rigidity, and subjectivity that it could lead to corruption of the evaluators who may not have the right qualification to rate the hotels and resorts.

Gonzalez, who has travelled the world and stayed in expensive hotels in developed countries, suggested to the DOT in his letter: “let’s not spend a lot of public money to fix a wheel that isn’t broken.”