The House of Representatives has backed a measure declaring six municipalities in the Quezon province as ecological-tourism zones.
The six municipalities are Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, Patnanungan, Jomalig, and Mauban.
House Bill 8980, authored by Rep. Anna Katrina Enverga of Quezon, proposes to provide the necessary support for the local government units of these municipalities to improve their tourism industry.
“Promoting efforts for environmental protection, making the tourism industry a major source of livelihood and a means of generation of employment for the municipalities,” said Enverga, vice chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Franchise and member for the majority bloc of the Southern Tagalog Development Committee.
She noted that the Polillo Group of Islands comprises 27 islands, and its five main islands are Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, Patnanungan, and Jomalig.
Of these, Polillo is the largest, and home to the famous and luxurious Balesin Island Resort.
“Grazed by long white sandy beaches, Polillo has the potential as the perfect getaway for those seeking adventure. Its underwater wilderness is home to diverse marine species and its protected forests are home to endemic animals,” said Enverga.
The bill mandates the Department of Tourism, in coordination with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and concerned government agencies, to craft a tourism development plan containing the construction, installation, and maintenance of appropriate facilities and infrastructure to enhance tourism in these islands.
The DOT shall take immediate steps to implement the tourism development plan.
The DOT and its concerned attached agencies may provide technical and financial assistance for the development of tourism infrastructure and the conduct of skills development programs in the concerned LGUs. They may also aid in promoting the ecotourism zones both locally and internationally.
They shall further organize a forum by which the private sector, nongovernment organizations, and other interest groups can interact with one another and create an atmosphere that shall encourage investment and develop a culture of tourism.
The bill also mandates the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), in coordination with the DOT, to set in place the construction and improvement of roads and other infrastructure needed in these municipalities.