By Charissa Luci-Atienza
A bill seeking to declare Polillo Group of Islands and Cagbalete Island in Quezon province a tourism zone has been endorsed for plenary approval.
The House Committee on Tourism, chaired by Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon, pushed for the final approval of House Bill 8980, principally authored by Quezon Rep. Anna Katrina M. Enverga.
House Bill 8980 seeks to declare the Polillo Islands and its adjoining municipalities of Patnanungan, Panukulan, Jomalig and Burdeos, and Cagbalete Island as a tourism zone.
“Any of these islands are the perfect destination for breathtaking white sand beaches, fishing, surfing and diving, ” Enverga said.
The five main islands of Polillo group of islands are Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, Patnanungan and Jomalig.
The largest main island is Polillo, home to the famous luxurious Balesin Island Resort.
“This proposed measure seeks to provide the necessary support to such efforts of the municipal governments of Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, Patnanungan, Jomalig and Mauban by declaring their islands as an ecological-tourism area,” Enverga said.
“Promoting efforts for environmental protection, making the tourism industry a major source of livelihood and a means of generation of employment for the municipalities, ” she said.
HB 8980 tasks the Department of Tourism (DOT) in coordination with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and other concerned agencies of the government to prepare the development plan involving the construction, installation and maintenance of appropriate facilities and infrastructure in the group of islands.
Under the bill, the DOT and its attached agencies are expected to provide necessary technical and financial assistance for the development of tourism infrastructure and skills development in the local government, while endeavoring, when practicable, to promote the tourism zones both locally and internationally.
The bill tasks the DOT to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of the proposed Act.