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House panel OKs 8 new tourist spots

Includes Baclaran Church environs

THE 73-member House of Representatives committee on tourism chaired by Romblon Rep. Eleandro Jesus Madrona has endorsed for plenary debate and approval eight separate bills seeking to declare the immediate environs of Baclaran Church and seven other spots as new tourist destinations.

Quezon City Rep. Marvin Rillo, committee vice chairperson, said the locations lined up for declaration as new tourist attractions are as follows:

• The immediate vicinity of Baclaran Church, also known as the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, along Roxas Boulevard in Parañaque City, under House Bill (HB) No. 5168;

• Mount Arayat, along the borders of the municipalities of Arayat and Magalang in Pampanga, under HB No. 5169;

• Luzon Datum in Barangay Hinanggayon, Mogpog municipality in Marinduque, under HB No. 5170;

• The Cebu Safari and Adventure Park in Barangay Corte, Carmen municipality, Cebu, is the largest safari and adventure park in the country. 5171;

• Guinsaugon Eco-Adventure Park in the Guinsaugon Eco-Adventure Park. Bernard in Southern Leyte, under HB No. 5173;

• Tugonan Waterfalls in the municipality of Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur, under HB No. 5167;

• Dao Heritage Tree in Barangay Cugman, Cagayan de Oro City, under HB No. 5172; and

• Passig Islet in Barangay Bato, Sta. Cruz in Davao del Sur, under HB No. 5174.

“Once finally declared by law as tourist destinations, the sites may benefit from the national government’s Tourism Road Infrastructure Program (TRIP),” Rillo said.

“In the proposed 2023 General Appropriations Act, TRIP has an allocation of P16.8 billion for the construction or improvement of access roads leading to declared tourist attractions,” Rillo pointed out.

The P16.8 billion is on top of the P17.9 billion earmarked for TRIP in the 2022 national budget, according to Rillo, also House appropriations committee member.

Under TRIP, Rillo said the specific roads to be funded would be identified jointly by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Public Works and Highways.

Under the bills, Rillo said the DOT and the local governments concerned would also be required to include the sites in their respective tourism development plans, in consultation with other relevant agencies such as the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, or the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.

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