NOTE: THIS PRESS RELEASE WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Two of the major tourist destinations in the province – Alona Beach in Panglao and the Chocolate Hills Complex — are eyed to be rehabilitated.
Gov. Aris Aumentado initiated the talks in a meeting on Monday afternoon with officials of Panglao and Carmen, where the governor said he intends to play a more active role in the tourism industry.
The governor himself visited Panglao and Carmen recently and planned to gather stakeholders to address concerns. A priority move is the implementation of an immediate remedy to the sand erosion along the Alona Beach stretch, Panglao town.
Aumentado ensured that any activity undertaken by the LGU and the private sector through the Panglao Island Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PICCI) has the guidance of relevant national agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), particularly on the enforcement of 20-meter easement zones.
Present in the meeting were PENRO Ariel Rica, DILG officer Mar Roxas, Panglao Mayor Boy Arcay, Municipal Administrator Socrates Fucanan, DPWH First District Engineer John Gascon, PICCI president Uco Trotin along with Provincial Tourism Council (PTC) Chair Atty. Lucas Nunag and Provincial Administrator Aster Caberte.
A long-term solution is also sought for the proposed rehabilitation of the coast along Alona Beach with a plan that will include a Sewage Treatment Plant.
Meanwhile, Aumentado also asked for the DENR’s supervision in the cutting and trimming of trees impeding the view from the Chocolate Hills Complex view deck.
“Our tourists would want an unobstructed view of our Chocolate Hills,” Gov. Aris Aumentado said during the same meeting with DENR joined by Carmen Mayor Conchita “Che” Toribio Delos Reyes.
According to the DENR, the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) has given its approval to cut or trim the trees with LGU assurance that a tree planting activity will also be conducted as a replacement. The LGU also reported that they are facilitating getting the consent of landowners for the cutting of trees.
Aumentado directed Caberte to reach out to TIEZA for assistance with funding for the proposed rehabilitation plan in Alona Beach as well as for the proposed master plan for the Chocolate Hills Complex.
He said the proactive stance of the Provincial Government is necessary to sustain its efforts to boost tourism, especially as an influx of 10,000 visitors from South Korea is expected between now and February, an outcome of his recent investment trip. (PIMO/MT)