Stakeholders join forces for sustainable eco-tourism development of DavOr’s protected areas

Partners for Development: DENR Regional Director, Joselin E. Fragada and Governor Corazon Malanyaon agree to push for the sustainable eco-tourism development of the protected areas in the province. Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

Partners for Development: DENR Regional Director, Joselin E. Fragada and Governor Corazon Malanyaon agree to push for the sustainable eco-tourism development of the protected areas in the province. Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

Province of Davao Oriental— The provincial government and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), together with other stakeholders, have committed on Thursday, their all-out  support towards the sustainable eco-tourism development of two protected sites in Davao Oriental—the Aliwagwag Protected Landscape and the recently inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List— the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary.

This was after the Protected Area Management Board (PAMB) of Davao Oriental unanimously approved the provincial eco-tourism development plan for these two areas.

Initiated by the provincial government, the eco-tourism development plan was crafted under the premise of proper environmental management.

Poised as another landmark of the province, this anticipated development is set to create a big impact not only for the local economy, but more importantly on long-term environmental sustainability.

Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, during the PAMB meeting, made certain that the development will not compromise the protection and conservation of the sites, as the province is also bent in safeguarding and maintaining its beauty and the biodiversity. “The development will always adhere to the guidelines set by DENR for eco-tourism development in protected areas,” she assured.

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While local officials say these developments are a ‘dream come true’ as it would draw economic opportunities for the locals, Governor Malanyaon also urged them to do their part in protecting these sites. “Our natural heritage is our legacy to the future generation and it is our responsibility to preserve it,” she said.

DENR Regional Director, Joselin E. Fragada, who also chairs the PAMB, emphasized the essential role of all stakeholders, particularly the LGUs, in maintaining these natural assets. He urged officials to involve the communities in this endeavor by raising their awareness. “We want to make people more accountable in terms of preserving and protecting these treasured sites,” he said.

Development Plan

The provincial eco-tourism development plan for these two areas involves elaborate building of basic structures within the buffer zones— where construction is permitted.

The CPDA architectural firm, who is commissioned for the ambitious project, said ground works for Aliwagwag Protected Landscape is already in progress, while the construction in the four ‘jump off sites’ in the Mt. Hamiguitan shared territory are yet to be started.

Charisse Puentespina, head architect of CPDA, said these infrastructures will house several essential amenities.

The Aliwagwag Protected Landscape, she said, will feature an eco-park showcasing conservation and biodiversity. Aside from that, it will also have a restaurant, souvenir shop, viewing deck and a livelihood center that will feature the different economic activities in the area, such as pottery and ‘dagmay-weaving’.

Having sixty-four bird species that make its surrounding forests their haven, an aviary will also be put up to showcase the area’s wildlife.

With teeming potentials, several activities are also set for everyone to enjoy. These include canopy walks, zip line rides, trail-hiking, picnics, and river cruising, among many others.

Meanwhile, based on the eco-tourism plan for the Mt. Hamiguitan, there are four project locations that will be developed. One will be in the City of Mati, another in the town of Governor Generoso, and two sites in San Isidro.

Structures in these areas will also feature similar amenities with that of Aliwagwag. Among the highlight structures here will be a research center, tourists’ villas, natural science museum, and an eco-park.

Moreover, guided by UNESCO’s vision to educate people on environmental awareness, these buildings will also contain a tourists’ center to serve as an education and information area, where visitors can learn about biodiversity and discover ways to help protect them. PIO/Photo by Eden Jhan Licayan

 

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