Tour guides and porters in Benguet will soon be mandated to undergo accreditation to improve the tourism industry of the province.
The proposed ordinance, “Establishing guidelines and regulations for the provincial and community tour guides and local porters”, states the minimum requirements must be put in place and will be a prerequisite for accreditation and/or recognition by government agencies.
“Community tour guides and porters in Benguet should be able to practice their trade and render services without being discriminated upon,” stated the proposed ordinance.
The ordinance sets qualifications specifically for the accreditation of community tour guides, provincial tour guides, and local porters. Community tour guides are defined as persons from the locality who perform tour guiding and recognized by either the barangay, municipal and provincial government.
Tour guides are those duly recognized by the province and are authorized to accompany visitors to conduct and manage all sightseeing tours and packages.
For community guides to be qualified, they must have undergone basic life support and first aid training; a resident of the locality where the tourist attraction is located; and endorsed by the Barangay Tourism Council where they reside.
To qualify, provincial tour guides must be recognized as a community guide by the province and municipality where they reside; must comply with the following mandatory documents: tour guiding training certificate, police clearance, and medical certificate or clearance.
Both tour guides must be able to read and write and able to speak basic English, Filipino and their dialects; physically and mentally fit, with good moral character; and underwent training in tour guiding and issued a certificate of training from the province, Department of Tourism, or the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
Further, all provincial and community guides and porters shall secure their identification cards signed by the governor and their respective mayors. After full compliance, the Office of the Governor shall issue ID cards. These shall be worn at all times during the conduct of the tour or upon reporting for duty.
The municipality or barangay may also require tour guides and porters to wear uniforms or follow a dress code.
The ordinance states that only recognized or accredited provincial and community tour guides and porters may be allowed to practice tour guiding or porter service within the province.
Meanwhile, the ordinance establishes the recognition and commendation of the tour guides and local porters. There shall be 10 awardees for the provincial and community tour guides and 10 awardees for the porters. The awardees shall be lauded for their exemplary service in the tourism industry during the National Tourism Week every last week of September.
The Municipal Tourism Council shall recommend the prospective awardees to the Provincial Tourism Council and a cash incentive of P5,000 and a plaque shall be given to each awardee.
An initial budget of P350,000 shall be appropriated by the provincial government for the implementation of the ordinance. – Ofelia C. Empian