Oslob town, Cebu banks on whale sharks to earn extra

Oslob town banks on whale sharks to earn extra

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Oslob town banks on whale sharks to earn extra

Saturday, September 23, 2017

They help keep town afloat. Southern Cebu’s Oslob town (population: 27,893 as of 2015) reported P99 million in earnings last year from visitors who swam with or viewed the whale sharks. That’s about P13 million more than what it got from the national government as its share of tax collections. (SunStar Foto/Jayjay Neri)

THE southern town of Oslob, Cebu last year earned P99 million from foreign tourists, who came to swim or look at the whale sharks, also known as butanding.

The amount was more than the P86 million that Oslob received as its share of the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA).

The town welcomed an average of 370 foreigners every day last year.

“This year, an average of 412 foreigners, mostly Chinese, visited Oslob every day,” Mayor Jose Tumulak Jr. said.

The whale sharks can be seen in Barangay Tanawan, some 10 kilometers from the town proper. Tourists can make a side trip to Tumalog Falls.

Because of the income from the whale sharks, its IRA and local revenues, the town had approved a P155-million budget for 2017.

However, Tumulak said that the town was forced to recently pass a P20-million supplemental budget.

Local government units like Oslob are already discussing their annual budget for next year, which is due in mid-October.

On the other hand, Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale has filed an ordinance establishing the Cebu Province Tourism code to further promote tourist destinations.

Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on September 24, 2017.

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