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More Mindanao ecotourism zones soon

The House committee on tourism has approved several measures declaring various areas in Mindanao as ecotourism zones, with committee vice chair Rep. Franz Alvarez (1st District, Palawan) steering the bills’ passage.

The bills passed at the committee level are as follows: House Bill (HB) 4711 authored by Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II (1st District, Surigao del Norte), for Siargao and Bucas Grande Island in Surigao del Norte; HB 4946 for the Malubal Falls in Zamboanga Sibugay and HB 4979 for the Cave in Underground Tipan Cave also in Zamboanga Sibugay, both authored by Rep. Ann Hofer (2nd District, Zamboanga Sibugay).

HB 4711 mandates the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to make an inventory of the existing flora and fauna in Siargao and Bucas Grande Islands which shall be the basis of a master plan that will be developed for the said ecotourism site.

The declaration of said areas as ecotourism zones is expected to boost local government income, generate earnings from foreign exchange, and create employment opportunities for the people residing in the area.

The bills also mandate the establishment of ecotourism councils and the development of master plans for the respective areas.

Meanwhile, the committee also approved House Bill No. 4526 or “An Act Declaring the Province of Palawan as the Cruise Ship Capital of the Philippines and for Other Purposes.”

Declaring the Palawan as such “would create a favourable image of the country in the international community, thereby strengthening the country’s attraction as a tourism destination,” said the bill’s proponents. (ABR/Congress)

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