Bukidnon aims to make local tourism industry prepared for emergencies

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/07 December) – Moves are underway to make the tourism industry in Bukidnon prepared for emergencies.

About 450 hotel and restaurant management students of Bukidnon State University underwent a two-day training on emergency preparedness and first response that opened Saturday with trainers from the private and public sector.

Maite Abellanosa, tourism cluster head of the Bukidnon Kaamulan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. called the training an initial step in partnership with BSU to build a safe and emergency responsive tourism industry.

Abellanosa, who owns the training firm Ohana Adventures and Events Management, said local tourism players need the training as one of the requisites of the international tourism industry.

First year to fourth year HRM students of BSU were required to undergo the training as part of their preparation, especially because they are taking internships and future jobs around the country and abroad, said Josephine Eugenio, a faculty member at BSU’s College of Business, Accountancy, Hospitality, and Public Governance.

Eugenio said it was the first of such training for their HRM students.

Dr. Rachito Abellanosa told MindaNews the training is crucial for tourism professionals as they may figure in emergency situations in their jobs in the tourism and restaurant industries.

He added that many of the country’s HRM professionals are employed in first world countries where demand is high for emergency first responder certifications.

There are two batches of students with each batch to undergo whole-day training in four areas.

The first of the four workshops is the anti-crime/anti-terrorism safety workshop handled by Dr. Abellanosa, an international instructor for emergency first response, and Carlo Clapano, a former safety officer at the Philippine Air Force.

The other workshops includes the medical workshop with registered nurse and trainer Wynn Manette Perig, a certified emergency first responder; fire emergency workshop handled by Malaybalay City Fire officers led by Russel Bacawag; and Ms. Abellanosa, who gave the workshop on being psychological and emotional preparedness to survive.

Abellanosa said the two-day training only covered basic skills because the original training design requires five days for all four areas.

She earlier told MindaNews that Bukidnon’s tourism stakeholders “are not linked in a value chain.”

Abellanosa further cited the need to develop potential scenic attractions to make them better tourist destinations.

She said Bukidnon’s top attractions are nature and adventure tours, but added that the province can do very well in attracting tourists interested in culture and agriculture.

The province hosts seven indigenous tribes, each with a colorful culture that get showcased only during the annual Kaamulan Festival.

Abellanosa also said there is a need to train tour guides.

Abellanosa, a pioneering cultural guide in the province, noted that there are only two tour operators accredited by the provincial government, but with workers who are mostly from Cagayan de Oro City “who know nothing about Bukidnon.”

Chamber officials lauded the initial training of BSU students on Bukidnon culture as a start of the enabling measures to develop tourism in the province.

Abellanosa said she will link with tour operators so the trained students will be hired as cultural guides.

The chamber, she said, intends to support culture tourism in the province, citing the music and arts of Waway Saway and his group of Talaandig artists.

“That’s our top global product from Bukidnon. What’s good about them is that among similar groups, they are the ones who excel. They take efforts to polish their craft,” Abellanosa stressed.

Roberto Tinsay, the chamber’s vice president for membership, cited in an earlier interview that tourism should be emphasized in pursuing development because it is “one the best drivers of growth”. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)