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, according to the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
DILG Assistant Secretary Jonathan E. Malaya says the region and local government units (LGUs) “will have no choice but to ensure the health and safety of their tourism sites and ecological environments” as the Bill of Rights in the Consultative Committee’s 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,” says Malaya.
According to the draft, every generation of Filipinos have rights 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, Region IV-B’s economy posted a 6.2% 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, thereby increasing jobs for locals and lowering 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 the Municipality of Socorro, Oriental Mindoro on November 8, 2018 to explain the merits of federalism to the people of MIMAROPA.