Reports of an impending huge increase in plane fares come at a time when the Department of Tourism (DOT) launched a new video advertisement promoting travel and local attractions.

The DOT video ad earned praises online for being beautifully done and succeeding in enticing people to visit the sites. The coming fare increase for air travel, however, sounded incongruous with the DOT reinvigorated program for Filipinos to see the beauty of the country and its people because “People make the destination.” For struggling consumers, it’s better to cut non-essential expenses and cover the costs of basic needs.

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has allowed local airlines to increase fuel surcharges to cover rising costs of fuel. The CAB resolution issued Wednesday, June 22, 2022, raised the fuel surcharge bracket from level 7 as of June to level 11 starting this July 1.

Reports said a level 11 bracket means airlines may collect fuel charges ranging from P355 to P1,038 per passenger for domestic flights (from P219 to P739 current charges) and P1,172.07 to P8,714.84 for international flights (from P722.71 to P5,373.69 currently). The fuel charge is different from the base fare which airlines may decide not to change.

The airlines are optimistic still that Filipinos will travel in “revenge spending” after movement restrictions due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) were lifted.

It’s not just transportation costs that are going up, there are plenty of price increases that consumers have to bear. There are manufacturing costs and the prices of basic goods and services that are increasing by the week. Consumers would rather hold on to what they have than spend those pesos on travel.

It was just unfortunate that as tourism stakeholders begin to prepare for a return of travel with a good video advertisement, here comes a downer in the increase in costs to surely disrupt travel plans.

Why is it so difficult to have fun these days?

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Talking about incongruous, officials behind the government order to block access to so-called terrorist-backed websites may have forgotten that there are ways online to go around such restrictions.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. was confident he had proof that terrorist groups used the websites he ordered blocked two weeks ago to recruit members. But his and the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) actions were rendered ineffective as the internet itself allows for ways to go around obstacles.

Take the case of Bulatlat.com which was tagged as a website of communist rebels and thus included in the list of 27 sites blocked. Esperon had asked the NTC to issue the site-blocking orders and the NTC, in turn, ordered telecommunications companies to implement the blocking.

The original site Bulatlat.com could no longer be accessed. But alternative sites—https://www.bulatlat.org/ and https://bulatlat.global.ssl.fastly.net/—cropped up to become the new Bulatlat internet home.

There are ways to go around blocking access to websites.