Press Release
November 21, 2008

Senate designates members of bicam panel on tourism

The Senate has designated six of its members to compose its contingent to the Senate-House bicameral committee tasked to iron out differing provisions in the national tourism bill the Lower House has recently passed on final reading.

Independent Senator Richard J. Gordon will head the Senate's contingent whose members are composed of Senators Loren Legarda, Lito Lapid, Pia Cayetano, Benigno Aquino and Aquilino Pimentel Jr.

The Senate-House bicameral conference committee is scheduled to convene early next week to iron out conflicting versions of Senate Bill 2213 and House Bill 00004 authored by Gordon and Rep. Edgardo Chatto, respectively.

Gordon said he expects bicameral committee would expedite its meeting so that the national tourism bill can be immediately sent to President Arroyo for her signature into law before the end of the year.

House Bill 00004 is the counterpart measure of Senate Bill 2213, otherwise known as the Tourism Act of 2008, which was authored by Gordon.

Gordon, chairman of the Senate tourism committee, earlier hailed the passage on third and final reading of the national tourism bill the President has certified as among her eight priority measures to ward off impact of global financial crisis.

The independent Senator, who also served as tourism secretary from 2001 to 2003, said this development would precipitate a massive boom in Philippine tourism.

"We hope the President would sign into law the Tourism Bill before the end of the year since this landmark legislation is a much needed shot in the arm for the country as it comes to terms with a worldwide recession," he said.

Gordon strongly underscored the need to enact the Tourism Act of 2008 in order to super-charge the country's drive for increased foreign investments and tourist traffic.

Both HB 0004 and SB 2113 seek to establish tourism enterprise zones in strategically located areas, such as Cebu, Davao , Bohol, Laguna, Cavite , Boracay, Palawan and Iloilo, that could be developed into a haven for tourists.

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