BAGUIO CITY -Tourism Undersecretary Marco Bautista rallied indigenous peoples (IPs) in the different parts of the Cordillera to spearhead efforts in preserving and protecting numerous tourist destinations to help in sustain robust economic activities in the said places that provide jobs and sources of livelihood for them.
The undersecretary, who was the keynote speaker during the culmination program of the Indigenous Peoples month celebration here, said tourism provides the opportunity for people to be involved in the diversification of income through various activities that allow them to have stable sources of livelihood without compromising the state of the environment, the base of the robust industry. “We laud the IPs for the unique ways they have of preserving and protecting the environment that serves as the main source of everything that we have. We must be resilient in advancing the tourism industry in our region without inflicting significant damage to our environment,” Bautista stressed.
The DOT official said that IPs know what is the best for the existing tourist spots in their ancestral domain thus they should also be the one to work on the means to guarantee the least possible damage from tourism to the environment because it is nature that provides the sceneries being frequented by foreign and domestic tourists.
According to him, concerned government agencies, local government and stakeholders must start working on a sustainable formula to guarantee the preservation and protection of the region’s environment while continuously enticing foreign and domestic visitors to frequent the various tourist destinations that serves as a major source of livelihood for some communities, especially the IPs living in the different villages around the tourist spots.
He added that IPs have a special way of ensuring the sustainability of the balance between efforts of preserving and protecting the environment while benefitting from the influx of tourists that is why the age-old proven practice of resiliency among IPs should be enhanced and passed on to generations.
Undersecretary Bautista pointed out there should always be a sustainable co-existence between the IPs and the tourist destinations so that IPs will be empowered to remain as stewards of the tourist spots that have been and will continue to be the main source of their livelihood.
He urged present generations of IPs to pass on to the upcoming generations the best practices in preserving and protecting the environment in their ancestral domain to prevent improvements that will compromise the state of the tourist destinations and deter visitors.
Bautista assured IPs that the tourism department will always be supportive of their initiatives to guarantee the sustainable preservation and protection of the environment that hosts the rice terraces, caves, scenic waterfalls, trekking destinations, heritage and historical sites, among others, because the agency considers the IPs as its partner in preventing damage to the sites that will significantly change in their status and image from the viewpoint of the IPs and nature lovers. By Dexter A. See