LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan has urged the public to report any vendor doing business in his city who are charging customers excessively.

Chan made the statement on social media on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, two days after the incident on Virgin Island in Panglao, Bohol, where a group of 13 tourists reportedly paid P26,100 for the food they had ordered from vendors in the area.

“Kung kamo adunay mabantayan nga nagpalabi og overpricing sa ilang mga tinda, ma-local o foreign tourists man, ayaw mo pagpanuko sa pagreport sa akong opisina kay andam ra ang atong business licensing team nga mo-atiman kanila,” he said.

(If you ever notice any overpricing in their products, whether for local or foreign tourists, don’t hesitate to report it to my office. Our business licensing team is ready to address your concerns.)

Chan, however, said the city’s inspectors have so far been closely monitoring for any overpricing of products, particularly for tourists.

Chan said that while they are happy that their tourism industry has slowly returned following the Covid-19 pandemic, he also wants vacationers to have a good time when they visit his city.

He believes that as long as vacationers enjoy their time visiting their city, their tourism stakeholders can benefit from it.

Chan said he was saddened by what happened in Panglao, which is one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

He added that his city is somewhat affected since some tourists pass through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport and ride a fastcraft to Bohol.

Chan said, though, that he is happy that the local government in Bohol and other agencies concerned have been quick to respond to the matter.

Virgin Island closed

Earlier Wednesday, food vendors and other tourism activities were prohibited in Virgin Island (Balut Island) in Panglao.

The Municipal Tourism Council of Panglao announced this decision in a statement issued by its chairman, Leucodio Trotin, on August 2, 2022.

It said the decision to close the island to food vendors and other tourism activities was reached after a review of the investigation conducted by Mayor Edgardo “Boy” Arcay on the alleged overpricing of seafood by some vendors.

Island hopping operations, however, will continue provided that “such activity shall be limited only for sightseeing,” it added.

To help the displaced vendors, the council has recommended the holding of “food street or night market” at Panglao Plaza where the vendors can sell their products.

“To be fair and just for the affected vendors as well, they shall be able to continuously sell out whatever perishable stock on hand,” it said.

The night market will also be conducted to coincide with the Hudyaka Festival celebration, it added.

The Department of Tourism and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, meanwhile, announced that they had been coordinating with the Bohol Provincial Government and Panglao Municipal Government for an immediate investigation on the matter.