Resto owner, mayor clash over river cruise-A A +A
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
A FLOATING restaurant operator in Loboc, Bohol complained that the town mayor and her brother barred them from conducting a tour on the river last Monday.
Riverwatch owner Tessie Sumampong accused Mayor Helen Alaba and Leon Calipusan of not allowing them to operate. Calipusan is the town's former mayor and Alaba's brother.
Sumampong told Sun.Star Cebu over the phone that there was no suspension order.
Alaba, in a separate phone interview, denied they barred Riverwatch without a reason.
She said Sumampong did not coordinate with her office.
The Loboc River Cruise was opened on Oct. 24, nine days after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake affected the town.
The earthquake destroyed the town's century-old San Pedro Church, which was considered for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage List.
There are 21 floating restaurants on Loboc River run by four operators, said Alaba.
Before the quake, an average of 1,000 tourists took the cruise each day.
Sumampong said they did not join the opening because they were busy repairing their damaged pavilion.
Last Saturday, she said she talked with Loboc Tourism Officer Elmer Varquez to allow her to operate again. But Varquez referred her to Alaba.
Sumampong said she met Alaba and asked the mayor to allow them to operate.
Alaba allegedly refused because Sumampong did not agree that floating restaurants will take turn cruising the river.
But the mayor eventually agreed to let them operater.
Sumampong said she told Alaba that they will not do a cruise on the river, but will only let her guests eat. She had at least 30 guests last Monday.
The town's council has not yet approved the resolution that does not allow floating restaurants to do a cruise on the river at the same time, said Sumampong.
Alaba said she did not allow floating restaurants to have cruises on Loboc River because there are only two docking ports left. The two others were damaged by the quake.
Sumampong said she has not yet decided to sue Alaba, as she still has to consult a lawyer.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 30, 2013.