By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Nancy Binay urged the government to prioritize and assist low-income municipalities in the crafting of tourism plans just as Boracay island reopened to tourists after a six-month rehabilitation.
The senator. who chairs the Senate committee on tourism, also said now that Boracay has been successfully rehabilitated, it is time for the government to move on to other localities where there is potential for tourism.
“Magandang bigyan natin ng assistance yung mga 4th class, 5th class municipality dahil ito yung talagang walang pondo for their tourism masterplan. (Its best that we provide assistance to those 4th class, 5th class municipality because these are the ones that do not have funds for their tourism master plan),” Binay said.
Binay, together with Department of Tourism (DOT) officials, conducted an ocular inspection and briefing of Boracay’s rehabilitation a day before its opening.
“Nakakataas balahibo pag makita mo yung main beach ngayon na ang luwag nya, ang linis-linis nya. (It’s a hair-raising experience when you see the main beach more spacious and very, very clean),” Binay said.
A private stakeholder also gave Binay a report about its efforts to revive its adopted wetland when she visited two of the island’s wetlands.
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has allowed corporations to undertake environmental work in six of Boracay’s nine wetlands.
“Since on track na naman yung rehabilitation ng Boracay, let’s move on to the other destinations na kailangan din ng atensyon. (Since the Boracay rehabilitation is on track, let’s move on to other destinations that are also in need of attention),” Binay said.
She said Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo-Puyat has mentioned that the government is looking into the tourism woes of El Nido, Palawan and Panglao, Bohol and other tourism destinations.
The DOT has previously written to the local government of El Nido, Palawan regarding the enforcement of environmental ordinances and address environmental issues such as trash disposal.
The senator said it would be beneficial to know the carrying capacity of tourist destinations to guide the planning and implementation of tourism plans.
“Sabi ko nga, since pinag-uusapan namin ang budget, tingin ko, bigyan namin ng funding yung paggawa ng study ng carrying capacity. (As I said, since we were talking of the budget, I think, we can provide funding to study the carrying capacity of these tourist destinations),” Binay said.
“Nakakalungkot, marami tayong destinations, hindi natin alam yung carrying capacity but we are already promoting it, developing it without knowing ano ba talaga yung kakayahan nung destination. (It’s sad that we have a lot of destinations, but we do not know the carrying capacity and are already promoting it, developing it without knowing what is really the capacity of the destination),” she pointed out.