By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill seeking to declare Camarines Norte as the “Surfing Capital of the Bicol Region.”
House Bill 8978, principally authored by Camarines Norte Rep. Marisol Panotes, seeks to attract more tourists and surfers to Camarines Norte.
The measure provides that within one year from HB 8978’s approval, the Department of Tourism (DOT), in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and other concerned government agencies, will draft a tourism development plan for the province.
The development plan must involve the construction, installation and maintenance of appropriate facilities and infrastructure to develop and promote the beaches and surfing activities in Camarines Norte.
DOT, in coordination with other concerned government agencies, will implement the development plan and incorporate it in its programs for the ensuing calendar year.
The measure tasks the Secretary of Tourism to include in the DOT’s programs the implementation of the proposed Act. The funding for the implementation of the proposed Act shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act and from internally-generated funds of DOT.
Within 90 days from the effectivity of the Act, DOT, in consultation with the local government of Camarines Norte, shall formulate the necessary rules and regulations for its proper implementation, the measure provides.
“The coastal Barangay Bagasbas in the Municipality of Daet, the capital town of Camarines Norte, has become one of the major tourist destinations in the Bicol Region because of the giant curly waves along the barangay’s coastlines that have been attracting local and foreign tourists, who are surfing aficionados,” Panotes said.
“The realization of the noble objective of the bill will certainly help develop not only Barangay Bagasbas but the entire province of Camarines Norte due to the possible influx of surfers that will greatly contribute to further growth of tourism in the Bicol Region,” she added.
Last year, HB 8978, which substituted Panotes’ HB 7049 hurdled the House Committee on Tourism, chaired by Davao Oriental Rep. Corazon Nuñez-Malanyaon.