Third District Rep. Kristine Alexie Tutor has filed a bill that would set the carrying capacity of the country’s tourist destinations in a bid to replicate nationwide one of the measures employed in President Rodrigo Duterte’s successful rehabilitation of world-renowned tourist island Boracay.
Tutor on Monday said the intention of the first bill she filed after she got elected last May 13 is “to make sure that the success of the government in fixing up Boracay” would be duplicated in all tourist destinations in the country.
“To make sure the success of government at fixing up Boracay, I ask the concerned government agencies for the unified set of carrying capacity standards for tourism destinations,” Tutor said in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency (PNA), reacting to Duterte’s state of the nation address statement on environmental policy direction.
She said the success story of the Boracay clean-up drive, which made the establishments there to comply with the government’s directive to follow the statutory easements, “could even [be] done better.”
“For us in Bohol, carrying capacity standards can work wonders for local governments in need of methods to develop their tourism prospects,” she said.
Tutor, a former provincial board member, explained that “carrying capacity” is the volume of tourists or population, which a destination can accommodate without affecting social services or causing degradation of the environment.
The lawmaker said the standards and policy on the carrying capacity of tourist destinations can be implemented through an executive issuance.
“The common policy framework and guidelines can initially be contained in an executive order. Then, it can be institutionalized through legislation after those agencies have seen the results and derived lessons from the practical application,” she explained.
In her explanatory note, Tutor recognized the roles of various government agencies such as the Departments of Tourism (DOT), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development in setting the standards of tourism sector’s carrying capacity.
The Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development is a new department under the Office of the President created last February 14 as a replacement to the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“They can already do the groundwork if they want to because their respective agencies have the mandates to address the concerns falling within their respective jurisdictions,” she said. (John Saavedra/PNA)