By LYN V. RAMO
LUBANG, Occidental Mindoro — Village officials here have criticized the existence of a beach resort that might be condoning prostitution in a group of islands now being promoted as a paradise resort.
Reacting to a report made by a group of researchers, 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.
Even the community of almost 70 percent Roman Catholics has expressed its rage when the women, mostly homemakers, forwarded a petition and confronted resort owners and hospitality girls in a dialog that Lubang’s mayor, Juan Sanchez, had called.
The petition called for the closure of beer houses and karaoke bars that allegedly offer the services of girls who are not residents of the Lubang islands.
Fr. Paulus Sinalatuan, parish priest of Lubang, is saddened by what he called the collapse of some marital relations resulting from alleged illicit affairs encouraged these establishments.
Sanchez 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 told the researchers.
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.
As the entertainment industry begins to encroach into the serene environment, peace and tranquility in the islands started to be disturbed, according to a woman official, citing a couple who resorted to separation as a solution to a marital conflict involving the visiting girls.
The women also raise the issue of health, but Sanchez said the town’s health office would monitor and check on it.
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 maintains 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 is currently in the process of mapping out its tourism plan. A private tourism planning consultancy firm Bluewater 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. (Bulatlat.com)