By Bulatlat.com/DateLine Philippines
Village officials in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro criticized paradise beach resorts promoting what they called a type of tourism that might condone prostitution.
At least six village chairmen of this town agreed that offering a “short-time” product, especially to locals with girls and young women in tow, connotes prostitution.
“Short-time” is a term used to connote a stay in a motel by two individuals.
The community’s women residents, mostly homemakers, forwarded a petition to Lubang mayor Juan Sanchez that called for the closure of beer houses and karaoke bars.
These bars and beer houses, the women said, allegedly offered services of girls that were brought to the island.
Fr. Paulus Latuan, parish priest of Lubang, said he is saddened by what he called as the collapse of some marital relations resulting from alleged illicit affairs encouraged these establishments.
Sanchez called for a dialogue between community residents and the resort owners and their hospitality girls.
The Lubang mayor dismissed the emergence of the entertainment sector in the islands as an inevitable “part of the development process.”
“Naturally, these are like hotels and the short-time stay is but one of their offers,” he said.
Lubang and Looc towns share the Lubang Islands, a group of islands that include Lubang, Ambil, Cabra and Golo. White beaches surround the islands, which boast of clear waters and healthy marine, mangrove and forest eco-systems.
About 70 percent of Lubang community residents are Roman Catholics.
A woman official said that the entertainment industry has started to disturb the serene environment and the peace and tranquility of the islands.
She cited a couple that separated because of a marital conflict involving the visiting girls.
The women also raised the issue of health, but Sanchez said the town’s health office would monitor and check health matters.
Some residents said these entertainers “come from Manila” and should be reshuffled often to avoid any further relationship besides “serving the men who go to the night joints to get drunk.”
Sanchez maintained that if the town was to develop its tourism industry, it should also be ready to receive the entertainment sector because “tourists would look for something to do at night time.”
The mayor reportedly advised local women to look after their husbands. “If no one patronizes the entertainment business, these would eventually close shop and pack up,” he said.
Lubang local government officials are currently in the process of mapping out the tourism plan of the islands.
Bluewater, a private tourism planning consultancy firm, said it is doing a heritage mapping and a resource inventory of the islands to enable the local government to draw a sustainable pro-poor tourism program that would also consider the plight of the people and their resource base. Lyn V. Ramo