LAOAG CITY — Following the opening of new museums and renovation of the Paoay convent ruins, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte which initiated these added attractions is now proposing the collection of fees as additional revenue source for local government.

Earlier, the provincial government renovated the Paoay convent ruins owned by the Diocese of Laoag to provide new tourist destination in Paoay town in addition to the UNESCO-world heritage site of Saint Augustine Church being frequently visited by tourists. A contract of lease was executed between both parties and a portion of it is now open for sub-lease to interested local businessmen here who may wish to open or expand tourism-related business in Paoay.

In Burgos town, the provincial government also refurbished the Cape Bojeador lighthouse museum meant to conserve and promote Ilocano culture as well as to preserve and exhibit historical artifacts for the appreciation of present and future generations and to complement the ongoing tourism programs of the Ilocos Norte government.

The Escoda Memorial Hall which houses the ‘Balay ti Dingras and the Taoid museum were also launched last December as additional tourist destinations here.

For the government to recover the cost of renovation and ensure its maintenance and operation, a draft Provincial Ordinance No. 2016-01-061 has been proposed at the provincial board to prescribe the rental fees and entrance fees to be collected from visitors.

Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel hopes the proposed fees will be approved the soonest possible time, which will ultimately benefit the people of Ilocos Norte.

Based on the proposed ordinance, stall owners who may wish to rent at the Paoay Convent Ruins will be charge at a rate of PHP400 per square meter per month while the use of its function hall can be charged at PHP4,000 for the first four hours and additional PHP500 for the succeeding hour/s. Entrance fee is also pegged at PHP25 for adult and PHP20 for children aged 7-12 years old.

For the Burgos lighthouse museum, it has been proposed that available stalls shall be rented at a rate of PHP300 per square meter.

Meanwhile, the entrance fee for the three new museums is also pegged at PHP40 for adult and PHP30 for children aged 7-12 years old respectively.

Officials in Burgos and Paoay however appealed to the provincial board to reconsider the collection of entrance fees to its local residents and if possible, the municipal government be given a share in the collection.

“We have local workers in Paoay such as our janitors who are taking turns in maintaining cleanliness in front of the Convent Ruins. May we request that we should also be given a share in the collection and for our constituents to be exempted from paying entrance fees when they visit the convent ruins,” said Adela Rebollido, municipal treasurer of Paoay town in response to the proposed provincial ordinance. PNA /