Senate body approves Barlig tourism act in principle

Out of the four corners of the classroom, a teacher dances to the rhythm of a song during the program at the Eyeb Open Gym on October 5, 2018 in celebration of the Bontoc District Teachers’ Day.** Alpine L. Killa, Bontoc-LGU

MANILA– The Senate Committee on Tourism approved House Bill 6484 entitled “An Act Declaring the Municipality of Barlig in Mountain Province as Tourism Development Area and Appropriating Funds Therefor” in its meeting last October 3, 2018 at the Sen. Lorenzo Tanada Room, Senate of the Philippines.
It is to be recalled that House Bill 6584 was filed by the late Congressman Maximo Dalog on June 30, 2016, was enacted in the House of Representatives on Nov. 28, 2017 and was sent to the Senate on Nov. 29, 2017 for approval.
During the Senate hearing on the bill chaired by Senator Nancy Binay and joined by Senator Miguel Zubiri, a member of the committee, Congressman Leopoldo Bataoil of Pangasinan and Congressman Eric Singson of Ilocos Sur who are sponsors of some similar house bills, approved these in principle.
But before the approval, invited line agencies bared their positions along with the submission of position papers.
Regional Director Tiburcio Canlas of the Department of Public Works and Highways, Cordillera Administrative Region, expressed full support to the Barlig TDA.
District Engineer Rustom Martinez of the Second District Engineering Office based in Natonin that covers Barlig, attested that the tourism sites identified in the bill are accessible and should be protected and promoted for a sustainable tourism in the town.
Barlig has a lot of tourism potential that needs to be developed. He said that access and infrastructure are very important.
The NAMRIA representative said that the agency supports the measure saying that they have already the map of Barlig with a request that the mete and bounds of the municipality be ascertained and submitted.
The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) representative said that they support all the measures indicating that they support the development of the tourism industry.
However, she was very explicit in pointing out that the Local Government Code devolved the development of tourism sites to the local governments but that they support the consideration of access roads to the tourism sites.
The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) representative voiced out their support to the TDAs but that tourism development plans must be submitted.
The representative of the Tourism Promotions Board relayed the “no objections” sentiments saying that they will continue promoting the TDAs.
Senator Nancy Binay said that there should be Tourism Master Plans as to regulate the absorptive and carrying capacity of the areas. She emphasized that “we should avoid the situation of Boracay having more tourists than its carrying capacity” could absorb.
Marites Carino, the Cluster head of DILG- Mountain Province, read the position paper of the agency fully supporting the measure on Barlig as a TDA.
“Barlig, a fifth class municipality, is a geographically isolated and disadvantaged area, and IRA dependent, all the more should be supported”, she said.
Governor Bonifacio Lacwasan, in a submitted position by this writer, stated that “we are very much supportive of the passage of the house bill”.
Sen. Migs Zubiri said that he joins Sen. Nancy Binay in the quest for the approval of the tourism bills, including the one for Barlig as a TDA.
“We will persuade our colleagues in the majority and the minority to support the passage of the house bills into laws”, he said.
Thus, Sen. Binay declared that the house bills are approved by the Committee in principle.
There were seven house bills that included that on Barlig as a TDA tackled by the committee. Among them were those of Pangasinan and Ilocos Sur.
A trust fund was provided in the bill for the upkeep of tourism sites in Barlig to be known as Barlig Tourism Development Trust Fund which shall be derived from fees collected from tourists to be augment grants and donations, or endowment from various sources, foreign or domestic.
Appropriations shall be made part of the DOT’s. **Roger Sacyaten

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