CEBU

Malilong: Jacking up hotel room rates

The Other Side

THE 2020 Sinulog is not the first time when hotels in Cebu City and the neighboring cities charge exhorbitant rates. But it may be the first time when they will be losing money in spite of the jacked-up prices.

If I were Mayor Edgardo Labella, I will not bother appealing to the hotel owners to not bloat their room rates for the duration of the festivals. Similar appeals have been made by his predecessors in the past but they all fell on deaf ears.

You know what their answer was? They were not guilty of manipulating anything; it was the law of supply and demand at work so let the market forces decide.

That was when supply could not meet the demand. There were not enough rooms to accommodate Sinulog visitors so not only did the guest have to book in advance, he had to swallow paying the new room rates that were twice, even more, than the regular ones.

Apparently, it is not so anymore. Not only have new hotels opened, the Airbnb is eating into the market. Hotel operators are complaining that Airbnb enjoys unfair advantage over them because they don’t pay taxes. That is a legitimate complaint that should be looked into. Every player should be on equal footing. And then let the market forces decide?

Still on the Sinulog, what’s this I hear that the right to sell food inside the Cebu City Sports Center during the Sinulog has been awarded exclusively to a Manila-based meat processing company? Isn’t there still a ban ordered by Gov. Gwen Garcia on hogs and hog products coming from Luzon, which although not binding on Cebu City, should be regarded with courtesy and respect? Or will the Manila processor refrain from selling pork products?

***

One day between Christmas and yearend last year, rockets rained down on a military base in Iraq, killing an American contractor and wounding four American and two Iraqi soldiers. An Iranian-backed militia was suspected of having launched the attack.

Two days later, US warplanes retaliated by attacking pro-Iran militia bases in Iraq and Syria, killing 24 militia men.

In response, pro-Iranian demonstrators, many of them armed, laid siege on the American embassy in Baghdad, burning guard posts and the reception building and trapping diplomats inside for more than 24 hours.

Three days after the siege ended, an American drone struck two cars as they were leaving the Baghdad International Airport, killing all the occupants including the principal target, Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who was accused by the US government of masterminding terrorist attacks but who was a legendary figure in Iran.

Five days later, Iran fired more than 20 ballistic missiles at military bases in Iraq that were known to house US troops. There were no casualties from the attacks, US President Trump claimed. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenie said the missile strikes were a “slap on the face’ of the Americans.

Happily, at least for now, the threat to world peace brought about by the confrontation appears to have eased off with the Iranian leader proclaiming that they did not want war and Trump declaring that he is ready to embrace peace. But why did they trade bombs and threats in the first place?


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