Taking a Vacation? Beware of Scammers and Non-Accredited Travel Businesses

It sure is nice to go out on holiday so that you can enjoy something nice and relieve yourself of the stress you accumulated from regular work.

But what if your hard-earned money goes to waste or, even worse, gets stolen by someone with criminal intentions?

Yesterday the Department of Tourism (DOT) here in the Philippines warned the public about making transactions with non-accredited entities engaged in travel and tours, airline ticketing and other travel businesses.

This was in response to reports they received about the proliferation of the non-accredited entities that posted advertisements on the different social media platforms or airline ticketing, travel and tours arrangement, hotel booking, and training offerings for travel business management.

“The public is hereby warned to be vigilant in dealing with these entities as there can be no guarantee on the reliability and legitimacy of their products and services,” the DOT said in its statement.

This development by the DOT is timely. Just days ago, there was this TV news report about a lady who got victimized by another lady who turned out to be a fake travel agent.

She paid a lot of money to the scammer for a Hong Kong vacation with her kids. As the scammer contacted her telling her to deposit thousands of pesos more for the vacation due to a “price increase”. The victim became suspicious and she went to the local authorities. Afterwards a personal meeting between the two happened in Las Pinas City and eventually the scammer got arrested.

You can watch the Tagalog language TV news video below.

Going back to the Department of Tourism, they said there are only select training centers that accredited to offer courses on putting up travel agencies and other tourism-related services. All travel agencies/ tour operators, including online bookings, are covered under the DOT Accreditation Law requiring accreditation before issuance of business permits, it stressed.

The DOT stated that entities with valid and existing accreditation with them have informative websites and/or online pages bearing the DOT’s Quality Seal and their corresponding Accreditation Number with validity.

For a complete list of DOT-accredited enterprises, the public are encouraged to visit the DOT’s website.

The lesson here is that you should not allow yourself to be fooled and tempted by those attractive holiday ads on social media as well as those transmitted via email or snail mail.

Always ask yourself if the seller is accredited by the DOT. Don’t forget to do a background check on the travel package and services seller.

Remember to be cautious and analyze the situation carefully before you proceed to book a vacation or avail any travel-related service. There are lots of scammers online and they are already making things hard not only for customers but also for the legitimate travel businesses.

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Muntinlupa City Seen To Benefit From DTI-BOI Investment Promotion

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The local government of Muntinlupa entered a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments in boosting Muntinlupa City as an investment destination. DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo signed a memorandum of agreement with Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi for the investment promotion endeavor at Muntinlupa City Hall, Putatan last April 16. Also witnessing the signing ceremony were DTI-BOI Investments Assistance Service Director Atty. Bobby Fondevilla, Muntinlupa City Administrator Engr. Allan Cachuela, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry – Muntinlupa President Elvie Sanchez-Quiazon, and other local officials. (from Muntinlupa PIO press release)

The City Government of Muntinlupa continues to move forward and gain recognition for governance, cooperation and a continued business-friendly approach. For those who are unaware, Muntinlupa was named as the Most Business-Friendly City in 2017 and 2018 and judging from the other kinds of awards it won these past years it proved to be a highly competitive city nationwide.

Very recently I received a press release from the Muntinlupa Public Information Office (Muntinlupa PIO) in which the City Government (led by incumbent Mayor Jaime Fresnedi) announced that it has sealed a partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments (DTI-BOI).

What’s the partnership about? Specifically the DTI-BOI will promote the city as an investment destination. Already DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Muntinlupa Mayor Jaime Fresnedi for the investment promotion endeavor at Muntinlupa City Hall on April 16.

What does this mean? It means the DTI-BOI will assist in boosting Muntinlupa City as an investment destination by providing relevant information on available incentives to potential local and foreign investors.

The investment board shall also provide assistance in the implementation of policies geared towards improvement of processes in starting a business. BOI aims to create an environment conducive to the expansion of existing investments or attracting prospective investments in the city. Further, the board will also conduct a mentoring program for the City Government’s frontline personnel.

During the MOA signing ceremony, Usec. Rodolfo lauded local initiatives and ease of doing business in Muntinlupa City. The BOI exec recognized some innovations facilitated by the City Government and its assistance in Micro, Small, Medium, and Large Enterprises and locators in Muntinlupa.  He also stated that Muntinlupa City is a business destination for high-value investments.

The mayor expressed his thanks to BOI for its assistance and said that the partnership will ripple to significant employment opportunities and the continuous development of local economy.

The way it is right now, Muntinlupa has arguably the most modern business and commercial zones in South Metro Manila. Already many companies have set up offices or corporate headquarters in Filinvest City, Madrigal Business Park, and Northgate Cyberzone in the Alabang area. When it comes to travel, the local connection to the Metro Manila Skyway is a big boost to the city as it allowed countless motorists to travel faster to and from Makati, Manila, Pasay City and the airports.

Things continue to look bright for Muntinlupa.


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New deadline for business permit renewal in Muntinlupa is now January 31, 2019

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This is for those who have businesses operating in the City of Muntinlupa. The Business Permit and Licensing Office of Muntinlupa (BPLO-Muntinlupa) announced today that it has officially extended this year’s deadline for renewing business permits from January 20, 2019 to January 31, 2019.

BPLO-Muntinlupa wants business owners reading this to skip the habit of doing registration close to the deadline and instead pay the dues early so that penalties will be avoided. The place to visit for renewing your business permits is at the Muntinlupa Sports Complex in Barangay Tunasan with the schedule of Monday to Friday, 8AM to 5PM.

For your convenience, a “One-Stop Shop” arrangement in the Business Permit Renewal Hub has been installed in the venue. The requirements from Barangay Halls and Regulatory Offices can be processed in the location of the Renewal as representatives of said agencies will be rendering services simultaneously.

For the renewal, taxpayers can use debit cards to pay. There are also mobile ATMs (automatic teller machines) from BDO (Banco de Oro) and Landbank complete with a CCTV (Closed Circuit Television System) placed across the venue. Business owners registering in the renewal may also access the internet through a free wi-fi connection provided by Globe Telecom and Smart.

Free rides? They are being provided for you by means of shuttle services and the pick-up points are located at Muntinlupa City Hall Quadrangle in Putatan and Muntinlupa City Public Market in Alabang.

The list of requirements is available for viewing at the Muntinlupa BPLO Facebook page. For inquiries, call the department’s hotline at 851-BPLO (2756) or 821-3266 now.

Thanks for reading and good luck with your business pursuits. The City of Muntinlupa has been honored for being a very business-friendly city.