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Claim: The municipality of Lila in Bohol imposes a camera tax on tourists.
Why we fact-checked this:
The Facebook advertisement bearing the claim was posted on September 20 by the Facebook page “Lila Whale Shark Watching,” which offers tourist diving, fun diving, and free diving. At the time of writing, the post has 95 reactions, 33 comments, and 29 shares.
The post features a price list for “whale shark diving” in Lila, Bohol. Based on this list, it charges P500 for the “camera tax.”
This price list was also reposted by “Bohol Island News” which has 65,000 followers. It gained 260 reactions, 110 comments, and 83 shares.
The facts: The municipality of Lila in Bohol says that it does not impose a camera tax.
“They have no right to impose fees (camera tax) and other charges because these are not covered by our revenue code,” Lila Mayor Arturo Piollo said in a statement released on Tuesday, October 3.
Piollo also labeled the circulating diving rates as “fake news” and “illegal” as the town has not allowed diving tour services since it is not done with preparations to ensure the safety of tourists.
“They have not been granted permission to operate in the name of the Municipality of Lila, especially in requesting payments without the support of an ordinance or business permit under the law,” Piollo said.
The municipal government, however, said it had granted permission for establishments to rent out diving gear and equipment to divers who could provide a license and proof of diving experience.
“Because of this, we strongly condemn the use of Lila’s name by businesses seeking to profit from this tourism attraction without any approval from the municipality and thus tarnishes Lila’s reputation,” Piollo said in Cebuano.
The municipal government urged the public to report to the authorities if there are individuals who are collecting more than what is allowed by the local ordinance. – James Patrick Cruz/Rappler.com
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