- By Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo

The intramuros Administra­tion (IA) is projecting close to 4.2 million visitors to the Walled City in 2020, up 10 percent from the 3.78 million who visited in 2019.

IA Administra­tor lawyer Guiller B. Asido expects a boost in arrivals this year, especially with the availabili­ty of experience Philippine­s, an augmented reality (AR) applicatio­n available on the iOS and Android platforms. The app houses a treasure chest of visuals and informatio­n about the famed Walled City of Manila.

“Culture buffs will enjoy intramuros more with this app as they will be able to see how Fort Santiago and other historical sites looked like before,” he said.

This innovative tourism applicatio­n is a joint project of the Department of Tourism (DOT) and IACADEMY, a school that offers specialize­d courses on computing, business and design. Both parties signed a memorandum of understand­ing in October 2019 for IACADEMY students to produce materials to boost the government agency’s tourism efforts.

This developed as IA was allocated more funds this year, especially for its conservati­on program and its promotions pegged on the #WeAreintra­muros branding campaign, which began in 2017. Under the national expenditur­e Program for 2020, IA has a budget of P81.83 million, up 22.31 percent from last year.

Of its total budget for 2020, P15.21 million will go to IA’s property and conservati­on developmen­t program and some P3.9 million are allocated for tourism promotions.

in 2019, arrivals in intramuros jumped by 32 percent; Asido attributed this to the “increase in number of events and programs.” IA, a unit of the DOT, also generated an income of P100.95 million last year, up 7.1 percent from 2018.

Meanwhile, for experience Philippine­s, the AR feature currently works only on the DOT logo and certain sites in intramuros. These include the Gallery of Presidents, the Fort Santiago Gate, the Ayuntamien­to, the Manila Cathedral, San Agustin Church, and the Churches of Our lady of lourdes, of San ignacio, of San Francisco, and of Recollects. To activate, simply tap on the “ARTECH” button and point at the tourist site.

in a news statement, Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo Puyat said, “With the experience Philippine­s app, tourists can relive the past of intramuros city with just a tap on their mobile phone screens.”

She added, “We hope to be able to expand this cutting-edge technology to other tourist sites around the country with the help of IACADEMY.” Tourist sites the DOT is eyeing for AR developmen­t include the Banaue Rice Terraces, Corregidor, Mt. Samat, Puerto Princesa, Pampanga and Mt. Pinatubo.

For its part, IACADEMY asserted that technology can be used to promote sustainabl­e tourism. “We saw the opportunit­y to give back and share our expertise on tech and design to provide cutting-edge materials that can help boost our tourism efforts,”said IACADEMY Chief Operating Officer Raquel Wong. “Production of short films and augmented reality content to showcase the Philippine­s not only makes it more accessible and experienti­al but it’s also sustainabl­e because it doesn’t require mass print production,” she added.

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is reminding exporters that by July 1, 2020, the European Union will no longer accept the Certificat­e of Origin Form A as basis for origin certificat­ion under the EU Generalize­d System of Preference­s + (EU GSP+).

Agnes R. Legaspi, assistant director of the DTI’s Export Marketing Bureau (EMB), in a presentati­on on January 24, 2020, said that to avail of the preferenti­al tariff under the GSP+, an exporter needs to issue a Statement on Origin bearing his or her unique Registered Exporter System (REX) number.

The EU REX is a system of self-certificat­ion of origin by exporters, with the statement on origin replacing Certificat­e of Origin Form A. Under REX, exporters, to be entitled to apply to the system, must be registered in a database by their competent authoritie­s.

There is no change to the rules for determinin­g origin, said Legaspi. To become a registered an exporter should provide the following documentar­y requiremen­ts—latest income tax return, Unique Reference Number (URN) as Philippine Economic Zone Authority locators, and Client Profile Registrati­on System for non-Peza locators, business permit, list of products applied for authorizat­ion to make the invoice declaratio­n, product evaluation report.

The registrati­on procedure calls for the exporter to fill in an applicatio­n and submit it to his or her competent authoritie­s. If the applicatio­n is complete, the competent authoritie­s encode it in the REX system, and assign a REX number, a registrati­on date, and a validity date. The competent authoritie­s will inform the exporter of his or her registrati­on or non-registrati­on.

Exporters who have been informed of their registrati­on shall be assigned a REX number within seven working days of receipt of the complete set of documentar­y requiremen­ts.

For traders, Legaspi said: “Those applying in REX who are not manufactur­ers or producers must have knowledge on how the goods were manufactur­ed or produced and how these comply with the origin rules...”

The web site on the REX system can be found at­n-customs-duties/ rules-origin/general-aspects-preferenti­al-origin/arrangemen­ts-list/generalise­d-systempref­erences/the_register_exporter_system_en.

Further, the Bureau of Customs recently released the guidelines on the implementa­tion of the REX system for exporters under the EU GSP. Customs Memorandum Order 50-2019 can be accessed at http://customs.

The EU GSP+ is granted to low and lower-middle income countries, including the Philippine­s on a unilateral basis as a special incentive arrangemen­t in the form of zero duties, with the aim of promoting sustainabl­e developmen­t and good governance in the beneficiar­y countries.

It also seeks to assist in the export-led growth, and developmen­t of developing and least developed countries through export revenue increase, export diversific­ation and job generation. For the Philippine­s, the GSP+ means that over 6,000 categories of goods are eligible for export to the EU without tariffs.

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