A total of PHP17.7 billion has been allocated in this year’s national budget to fund the Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP), the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) announced Thursday.
In a press release, the DBM said this amount is PHP602 million higher than the PHP17.087 billion from last year’s budget.
DBM Secretary Amenah Pangandaman emphasized the importance of providing funding support to vital infrastructure projects, which serve as the backbone of the economy.
“President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has been very consistent with his pronouncements that infrastructure development is a priority under this administration. And so we, at DBM, shall do all we can to support the realization of this objective. And so we ensured that various infrastructure projects nationwide are allocated with necessary funds to support the Build, Better, More program,” she said.
Pangandaman pointed out that “mobility and connectivity” are vital components in tourism development.
“The Philippines has so many majestic places. But how will we attract tourists if there is no transport infrastructure in place to get them to these destinations with ease?” she added.
TRIP is a convergence initiative of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and the Department of Tourism (DOT).
The budgetary allocation is also in line with the DOT’s National Tourism Development Plan, which envisions a globally competitive, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible tourism industry that promotes inclusive growth through employment generation and equitable distribution of income.
The funds will be used for the construction, reconstruction, upgrading and improvement of roads and bridges connecting to declared tourist destinations.
Under the 2023 national budget, the PHP17.689 billion budget will be distributed to tourism infrastructure projects in Ilocos Region, Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Bicol Region, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Eastern Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Northern Mindanao, Davao Region, Soccsksargen and Caraga Region.
In his first State of the Nation Address, Marcos said the country must have more international airports and road improvements to attract more visitors and fast-track tourism’s recovery.
“To boost our tourism industry, we will first and foremost make basic developments such as road improvements for easier access to tourism spots. We will also upgrade our airports and create more international airports to help decongest the bottleneck at the Manila International Airport,” he said.
He likewise stressed tourism’s importance as an economic development tool and a job-generating industry that benefits the grassroots level.
In 2019, the tourism industry accounted for 5.7 million jobs, representing 13.6 percent of the country’s total employment during the period. (PNA)