Under a federal setup, the regional government of Mimaropa (Occidental Mindoro, Oriental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan) will have bigger responsibilities in protecting and developing its own tourist attractions, an interior department official said Wednesday.
The region and its local government units (LGUs) “will have no choice but to ensure the health and safety of their tourism sites and ecological environments,” Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya said.
This as the Bill of Rights in the Consultative Committee’s (ConCom) draft Bayanihan Federal Constitution gives all Filipinos in all generations demandable rights to a healthy and safe environment.
Mimaropa is home to popular tourism sites, such as Puerto Princesa, Coron, El Nido, Sibuyan Island, Tubbataha Reef, and Apo Reef National Park, all of which are vulnerable to pollution due to heavy foot traffic of tourists.
“The regional government must avoid the Boracay closure incident from happening in the area. Mimaropa has been blessed with a richness of nature’s beauty and the local government units must do their utmost to protect a valuable source of the region’s wealth,” Malaya said in a news release.
According to the draft, every generation of Filipinos have the right to a balanced ecology, clean water, clean soil, and clean surroundings.
This means a ban against illegal and unsustainable exploitation of natural resources to avoid damages to the environment and ecology.
In ConCom’s draft, the federated regions will be able to exercise exclusive power over tourism, investment and trade development, all of which are Mimaropa’s biggest potentials for economic growth.
In 2017, Mimaropa’s economy posted a 6.2-percent growth on the back of services, industry and agriculture.
If the regional government is able to implement ecotourism effectively, then its tourism and investment sectors will experience a boom, increasing jobs for locals and reducing poverty incidence.
Mimaropa has 69 bodies of water, six major islands in the region, and has no land border with other regions, making the region a prime choice for tourists.
To know more about the growth potentials of the region, the DILG is conducting a roadshow for federalism in Socorro, Oriental Mindoro on Thursday (Nov. 8) to explain the merits of federalism to the people of Mimaropa. (DILG PR)