Behind the serene display of forest protected area of Brgy. Crossing in the Municipality of Kitcharao, province of Agusan del Norte unveils the captivating beauty of Lantawan Eco-Park that captures the exhilarating of Lake Mainit.
Yet the existence of this fascinating landscape has been hidden beneath forest covers slowly dissipating into oblivion.
While residents enjoy the extant panoramic view within themselves, the natural and attractive scenery of the park and its rich forest life is concealed because of the absence of tourism facilities.
This dismal situation ended when the town was conferred with the Seal of Good Housekeeping (SGH) and became a recipient of the Performance Challenge Fund (PCF) worth PhP1 M. The Seal is a form of recognition given to local governments the accords primacy to the principles of accountability and transparency. It is conferred to a performing (LGU) that has no adverse finding by the Commission on Audit (COA) regarding its financial transactions and has posted or in websites to notify the public of such information. With the awarding of the Seal, the town became eligible for the PCF which it can use for local development projects.
The fund, including an LGU counterpart of P1-million, was used to establish the Tourist Eco-Park, which includes the construction of access road, installation of potable water facilities, electric power supply, setting-up of public toilet and kiosk to improve the area.
Barely two months after the project’s completion, a record of 2,680 tourist already surged and rushed to the place. With the continuing increase of tourists in Lantawan, it is expected to generate income to the LGU and is projected to abet its fiscal condition. While the figures are increasing, the Municipality of Kitcharao is positive that it will provide revenues arising out of profits from Lantawan Eco-Park’s income-generating tourism facilities.
With the conferment of the Seal and the PCF grant, the Municipality of Kitchara is now slowly rising above its depressing situation.
“This is a manifestation that a performing LGU lodged in the foundation of good governance with the time-honored principles of transparency. Accountability, responsiveness and participation will truly be rewarded by a incentive of the national governance,” Regional Director Lilibeth A. Famacion said.
Roberto R. Calubag, Jr, the OIC-Municipal Planning and Development Officer (MPDO) of the the Agusan del Norte Electric Cooperative (ANECO), is working on the possible installation of a power transformer at the Lantawan Eco-Park to stabilize the 220 volts power supply required for the submersible pump and other tourist infrastructure facilities in the area.
In view of the operation and management of the Lantawan Eco-Park, the Municipal Tourism Coordinating Council is also in the process of formulating the Compressive Tourist Master Plan. The Sangguniang Bayan is likewise, working on an ordinance prescribing ecotourism development fees for the park.
For traversing President Aquino’s Daang Matuwid, Kitcharao is now well on its way to a new beginning and a better life for the locales. Thanks to the DILG’s Seal of Good Housekeeping program and the Performance Challenge Fund. xxx