BAGUIO CITY – Dozens of resort destinations in Northern Luzon will undergo a rigid evaluation and assessment on the state of their environment by task forces that will be created by the tourism department in preparation for possible rehabilitation, Tourism Undersecretary Marco Bautista said here recently.
He said the assessment and evaluation will be done in the resort destinations in Pangasinan, La Union, Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and Baguio City, and the heritage destinations of Banaue, Ifugao and Vigan City, Ilocos Sur to determine whether or not the extent of damages inflicted by the robust tourism industry in the said places will warrant possible closure and rehabilitation similar to what had been done in Boracay Island.
“The assessment and evaluation on the identified resort destinations in Northern Luzon will be conducted simultaneously by the task forces to be created for the said purpose. We are not singling out any tourist destination to undergo rehabilitation because there are numerous destinations that are similarly situated, thus, the need to first conduct the assessment and evaluation of the prevailing situation in the said places,” Undersecretary Bautista stressed.
The DOT official underscored that what were done in the closure and rehabilitation of Boracay will serve as a template for rehabilitation proposed for other similarly situated resort destinations so that environmental preservation and sustainability could be achieved.
He claimed some local governments, particularly beach and leisure destinations, have started implementing various programs and projects to address the environmental issues and concerns that were initially raised in their areas of jurisdiction following what had been implemented in Boracay to avert possible closure that could significantly affect the state of the tourism industry in their places, but there are also other tourist destinations that remain to be adamant in refusing to implement proposed reforms to be instituted in their areas thus the said places will be the ones that will undergo the required assessment and evaluation.
“We are running out of time. Calamities are getting intense and we need to come out with measures to revitalize the environment to contribute in efforts to combat the intensity of weather disturbances that frequent our country,” Bautista added.
He revealed that the tourism department will create inter-agency task forces to undertake the assessment and evaluation of the tourist destinations in Northern Luzon until the end of the year so that recommendations on actions to takes, possible closure and rehabilitation, could be immediately implemented early next year in preparation for the onset of the rainy season.
Bautista emphasized that the country’s strength is on its natural resources and once these are damaged, visitors will no longer frequent the different scenic destinations and this could result to the eventual death of the robust tourism industry, thus, it is high time for stakeholders to act on pressing concerns for the preservation and protection of the environment before it is too late to institute measures to address environmental concerns.
Banner photo by: Armando M. Bolislis