By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Quezon Rep. Mark Enverga has proposed to declare the Polillo Group of Islands and the municipality of Mauban, Quezon as national tourism zones.
He said the people of Quezon province will definitely benefit from his proposal as it would create livelihood and encourage more economic activities in their province.
“Tourism plays a significant role in the social, economical, cultural, and environmental development of the society. It contributes to sustainable development of the country. It creates jobs and opportunity for people to increase their income and improve their living conditions,” said Enverga, chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Food.
“The tourism industry is one of the world’s fastest growing economic sectors and largest employer of country’s manpower,” he cited.
Enveraga sought the passage House Bill 2680 declaring the Polillo Group of Islands, which comprises the towns of Polillo, Burdeos, Panukulan, Patnanungan and Jomalig; and the municipality of Mauban as national tourism zone.
“Polillo Main Island, consisting of coastal municipalities of Polillo, Burdeos, and Panukulan are holiday paradise in the Pacific Ocean, has remained largely untouched by tourism to this day. In between these municipalities are various existing and potential beach resorts notably, Treasure Island in Panukulan and Isla Polillo and more than a dozen resorts. Not to mention the famous Balesin Island Resort and the Minasawa Game Refuge and Bird Sanctuary an islet where threatened birds live and thrive,” he said.
He noted in Polillo town alone, 25,000-hectare coral reefs can be found.
Enverga said while Mauban, Quezon is not included in the Polillo Group of Islands, it is likewise “a tourism potential.”
Famous in Mauban is the Cagbalete Island, which is famous for its long seashore during low tide.
The island is located at Lamon Bay, Mauban and is often compared to Boracay Island in Aklan.
“This bill seeks to commence the development and promotion of the tourism potentials of the Polillo Group of Islands and Mauban, Quezon by declaring it as a tourism zone. Through this, heightened economic activities will happen and the people will benefit and the development of the islands will be achieved,” Enverga said.
HB 2680 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.
“The development plan shall ensure the preservation, protection and enhancement of the natural features, historic significance and cultural heritage of the tourism zone, while providing sustainable economic opportunities for the local community,” the bill provides.
The DOT and its attached agencies are mandated 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.