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Solon urges protection of tourist spots

By: Ellson Quismorio

Pointing to the “decay” of the world-famous beaches in Boracay, Samar 1st district Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento is pushing for an inquiry on the government’s plans and programs for local tourist destinations.

In this regard, Sarmiento penned and filed House Resolution (HR) no.1087, which prods the House Committee on Tourism to conduct an investigation “into the roadmap, programs, projects and action plans of the Department of Tourism (DOT) that aim to regulate tourists spots in order to promote sustainability.”

As it stands, Sarmiento claimed that the DOT’s thrust only seems to be focused on how to generate tourists arrivals, with the protection of tourist spots taking a backseat.

The solon noted that when the members of the House of Representatives (HOR) embarked on the so-called “Western-Eastern National Highway Expedition,” he immediately noticed the rapid degradation of Boracay Island which is one of the country’s top tourism spots.

The expedition was the brainchild of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

“The members of the House have also observed what several news agencies have reported, specifically, that there is an abundance of algae growth which may be related to pollution and the presence of waste matter surrounding the island,” Sarmiento said in his resolution.

He expressed concern that overdevelopment and overpopulation is now causing too much stress on Boracay, which has attracted 1.7 million visitors in 2016 alone and has long been considered as one of the best islands in the world.

“Several studies have shown the detrimental environmental impacts that tourism has caused Boracay, such as poor water quality, beach erosion, and decrease in coral cover,” the resolution read.