Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) Chair Luwal–hati Antonino on Tuesday urged local chief executives in Min–danao to come up with viable eco-tourism development proposals, which can be pushed by MinDA for possible funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) board.
Antonino said that MinDA can help lobby for feasible tourism projects since the organization now sits as one of the members of the Tieza board by virtue of Republic Act 9996 or otherwise known as the MinDA Act of 2010.
Prior to the creation of MinDA and its membership to the Tieza board, the entire Mindanao region used to receive an average of seven to 10 percent share from the Philippine Tourism Authority’s (now Tieza) annual budget.
However, with MinDA’s membership to the Tieza board, Mindanao got a hefty share of 35 percent or P157 million from Tieza’s budget for tourism development in 2011 and 40 percent share or P340 million from the P851.22-million in 2012.
She added that MinDA endorsed to Tieza several tourism project proposals from the province of Surigao del Sur, which are currently being undertaken. These include the provision for road access and other support facilities for the Tinuy-an Falls, Enchanted River, and the Britannia Islets Jump-off point.
“Surigao del Sur is host to a number of Mindanao’s key tourist destinations such as the Tinuy-an Falls in Bislig City, touted as the “Niagara Falls of the Philippines,” Hi–natuan’s Enchanted River, which is unique to the country, and the becomingly popular Britania Group of Islands in San Agustin,” said Antonino.
“Among the completed Tieza projects in Mindanao in 2013 include the construction of Bagobo-Tagabawa Village in Sitio Lawon, Brgy. Tibolo, Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur, the construction of Davao Oriental Provincial Museum, and the Lake Sebu development.
A P30-million budget was also secured from Tieza for the construction and implementation of ecotourism projects aimed to protect endangered marine species and help sustain community-based tourism enterprises in Tawi-Tawi’s Turtle Islands, one of the world’s major nesting sites of marine turtles. Voltaire Palaña