PANGLAO Mayor Edgardo "Boy" Arcay in Bohol Province has ordered to suspend the selling of food on Virgin Island effective immediately following his visit to the area on Tuesday, August 2, 2022.

This, after he discovered that the food being served in the island are very expensive.

Some of the vendors asked the mayor to allow them to operate until Friday, but the latter explained that the order was only temporary as they still have to fix the issue.

The island, which is part of Panglao town, became controversial when a woman posted in her Facebook page on Monday, August 1, 2022, that her friend's group of 13 paid a total of P26,100 for the seafood that they ordered, which included Abalone for P2,500, tinolang isda for P1,800, kinilaw'ng isda for P3,000, sinugba'ng isda for P2,500, scallops for P3,000, oyster (P3,000), squid (P2,500), lato (P800), baby squid (P1,500), sea urchin (P2,300), banana (P900), softdrinks (P1,300), and beer (P1,000).

Since then, the post went viral and received various reactions, mostly negative, from netizens.

Arcay temporarily transferred the vendors mainland in front of the old municipal hall.

In a statement Tuesday, August 2, Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia-Frasco said the overpricing by vendors “is a matter that the Department of Tourism (DOT) takes seriously especially as it concerns the welfare of tourists whose continued support for our destinations is critical to the recovery of the tourism industry.”

She said she had already coordinated with the local government units of Bohol and Panglao for immediate investigation on the matter.

The DOT, she added, has coordinated with the Department of Trade and Industry, stressing “it is imperative that reasonable pricing standards are upheld for purposes of consumer protection.”

“Our regional office is also coordinating with the LGUs to provide guidance on standards for the provision of tourist goods and services, and we will extend trainings to the frontline tourism workers and stakeholders involved to safeguard the overall tourist experience in the Island,” she added.

Garcia-Frasco appealed to the public to help boost tourism by helping each other.

“Tourism is a shared responsibility, and it is in helping each other along this period of recovery that we can fully enjoy the benefits that tourism brings,” she said. (REV/Ted Ayeng/LMY/TPT)