Gigantes folks urge gov’t to consult for tourism policies

Published July 19, 2018, 8:35 PM

by Roel Tibay

By Tara Yap

Iloilo City— Instead of temporary closure, locals of Islas de Gigantes (Gigantes Islands) are urging the government to consult them in instituting formal tourism and environmental policies for the booming beach destination in Carles town, Iloilo province.

PICTURESQUE—CabugaoGamay is the most photographed area of Islas de Gigantes (Gigantes Islands), a rising beach destination in Carles town, Iloilo province. Locals are dismayed with suggestion of the Department of Tourism (DOT-6) for temporary tourism closure. Instead, they are asking for guidance in establishing formal policies. (Tara Yap/MANILA BULLETIN)
PICTURESQUE— Cabugao Gamay is the most photographed area of Islas de Gigantes (Gigantes Islands), a rising beach destination in Carles town, Iloilo province. Locals are dismayed with suggestion of the Department of Tourism (DOT-6) for temporary tourism closure. Instead, they are asking for guidance in establishing formal policies. (Tara Yap/MANILA BULLETIN)

“We express our intent to work with the government and other partners to ensure that our natural, cultural and tourism assets will be properly managed and protected to provide sustainable benefits to local stakeholders,” said the Island Sustainable Development Alliance (ISDA) in a statement.

Gigantes village officials and residents wrote to Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. after Department of Tourism (DOT-6) Regional Director Helen Catalbas suggested for a three-month temporary closure to avert similar problems of Boracay Island.

While a relatively new destination, Gigantes is known for its white-sand beaches, caves, a lagoon, a sandbar, and a century-old lighthouse.

But the sudden influx of tourists resulted to unregulated tourism in a community that has an 80-percent poverty incidence.

The combined officials and residents of Asluman, Gabi, Granada, and Lantangan villages outlined their suggestions to the Iloilo provincial government, the local government of Carles, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Commission on Audit (COA), the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), and DOT for various issues and concerns.

This includes creation of proper garbage system and sewage treatment plants; auditing of environmental fees charged by Carles local government; investigating the alleged conflict of interests by town officials within the tourism industry; checking licenses of boat operators; and development of a comprehensive eco-tourism plan that should uplift a marginalized community that suffered from the wrath of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in 2013.

DOT-6 clarified it is the local government of Carles that has power over Gigantes or if the suggestion made earlier will be considered.

“DOT-6 has no power to close resorts. It’s the mandate of the local government,” Catalbas told Manila Bulletin.

Meanwhile, DOT-6 welcomes the commitment of Gigantes stakeholders.

 
CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP
 

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

["news"]
[2508879,2814292,2534630,2485825,2408462,2358243,2358052,2344118,2339143,2047660,1998697,996820,995332,995948,995006,994327,994303,993947,993860,993770,993529,993383,993285,798318,2919838,2919832,2919835,2919815,2919827,2919821]