A resolution that throws support to House Bill 4273, which seeks Palawan’s declaration as “Ecological Tourism Capital of the Philippines,” was filed Tuesday morning by a provincial board member at the Sangguniang Panlalawigan.
Board Member Albert Rama, author of the resolution, said it is only appropriate that Palawan is inducted the title as it is unique among other provinces in the country.
“We are home to 87 cultural groups and races; we have over 200 kinds of birds; over 600 species of butterflies, what else? We have a very good forest cover compared to other provinces, good cover of mangrove forest, coral reefs, and others. There are so many things to be proud of about Palawan, that is why I filed this resolution to support the House Bill,” Rama said.
He added that the declaration of the province as “Best Island in the World” in 2013, and consecutively 2016 and 2017, is an additional reason to the fact that it is the “Last Frontier” in the Philippines, and therefore, should be given the recognition.
The bill was authored at the lower house by 1st Palawan District House Rep. Franz Alvarez, 2nd Palawan District House Rep. Frederick Abueg, and 3rd Palawan District House Rep. Gil Acosta Sr.
In their proposed bill, if the province becomes an ecotourism zone, it will have an ecotourism office within a year after approval.
It will have a board that shall have them as ex-officio members, including the governor of Palawan, the mayor of Puerto Princesa, the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) among others.
The PCSD, DENR, and the DOT shall prepare an ecotourism master plan to be approved by the President of the Philippines.
Its fund will come from what is currently the appropriation of the PCSD and shall be included in the General Appropriations Act of the year following its enactment. (Grace Ann N. Belostrino/PNA)