Siquijor Rep. Jake Vincent Villa is pushing for the creation of a government office that would be solely responsible for the planning and development of coastal tourism in the country’s coastal zones.
He filed House No. 7377 seeking the establishment of a “Coastal Tourism Planning Development Program.”
“The Philippines is an archipelago. As such, it is surrounded by water which has rich marine biodiversity. In terms of tourism, there is a growth rate of 15.39 percent of visitors from other countries, among others, this is due to coastal tourism. This area of tourism lacks a concrete nationwide policy-making and rational planning,” Villa said in his bill’s explanatory note.
To ensure long-term opportunities relative to coastal tourism, there is a need to institutionalise a program that reconciles tourism, sustainable development, and environmental protection,” he stressed.
HB No. 7377 seeks the creation of a Coastal Tourism Planning and Development Office (CTPDO), which shall be headed by an executive director to be appointed by the President.
Under the bill, the CTPDO shall have the following functions:
— Research and develop sustainable coastal management practices.
— Collect and provide access to information on the magnitude, value, and impacts of ocean and coastal recreation and tourism, including information on a coastal town and studies on the dynamics of tourism in coastal and marine areas.
— Coordinate with each provincial governor of provinces with coastal areas for the planning and development of coastal tourism in the province.
— Conduct training programs and provide technical assistance to local communities to help them sustainably manage coastal recreation and tourism.
— Evaluate current national and local programs related to recreation and tourism, and develop best management practices as part of general guidelines for managing sustainable recreation and tourism industries in the nation’s coastal zones.
— Mobilize public or private partnership to develop coordinate and effective policies and public outreach programs related to coastal recreation and tourism.
Villa’s bill provides that the CTPDO’s powers shall be vested in and exercised by a Board of Directors to be chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Tourism (DoT).
Sitting as members of the Board are the Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources, Secretary of Interior and Local Government, Dean of the University of the Philippines School of Urban and Regional Planning, and a member of a government organization on marine environmental protection.
The initial funding of the proposed act shall be sourced from the National Treasury.
Thereafter, the amount necessary for the continuous operation of the CTPDO shall be included in the annual appropriations of the DoT, the measure provides.