Hataman

Malamawi Island pushed as ecotourism zone

November 24, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 56 views

BASILAN Representative Mujiv Hataman has filed a bill seeking to declare Malamawi Island in Basilan as an ecotourism zone.

“Panahon na para magbunga naman ang pinagtulung-tulungan at pinaghirapang kapayapaan para sa kapakanan at ikauunlad ng mga komunidad sa Basilan. Ang pagpapaganda ng Malamawi Island ay isang hakbang tungo sa isang progresibong kinabukasan,” Hataman said.

This is according to Hataman, as he filed on Tuesday night House Bill (HB) No. 6293 that seeks to declare Malamawi Island in the City of Isabela, Basilan, an “ecotourism zone” and mandates the Department of Tourism (DOT) to develop the island as a tourism destination.

“Sa katunayan, madami na ang pumupunta sa Malamawi Island para magbakasyon dahil tunay na napakaganda ng tanawin doon. Ang nakikinabang sa maraming bisita ay ang mga komunidad sa isla sa ilalim ng pagpapatnubay ng lokal na pamahalaan ng Isabela City,” Hataman declared.

“Higit na yayabong ang kabuhayan ng mga komunidad na ito kung mapapaunlad ang Malamawi Island sa pamamagitan ng mga programa at imprastrukturang magpapaganda dito. Ito ang pangunahing layunin ng panukalang ito,” he added. “First and foremost, this is a livelihood measure.”

According to the measure, Malamawi Island is a small island in Basilan with a long stretch of white sandy beach on its northern coast.

Because of its crystal blue water, refined white sand, and breathtaking scenery, Malamawi Island has become a popular tourist attraction.

Tourist arrivals in Isabela City – both accommodation-based and day tours, have jumped from 60,549 in 2019 to a whopping 112,275 as of October 2022. Arrivals dropped in 2020 and 2021, understandably due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“The Malamawi Island, in the City of Isabela, Province of Basilan is hereby declared an ecotourism zone. Its development shall be prioritized by the DOT, subject to the rules and regulations governing the development of ecotourism zones,” HB 6293 mandates.

“Within one year after the approval of this Act, the DOT shall, in coordination with the local government units of the City of Isabela… and agencies of the government, prepare a tourism development plan involving the construction, installation, and maintenance of appropriate infrastructure and facilities that shall encourage tourism in the area,” it further stated in Section 2.

Any tourism development plan of the DOT should be consulted with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) so that any activities and development to be carried out in the area should conform with the concept of ecotourism.

“The Secretary of Tourism shall include in the DOT’s program the implementation of this Act, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA) and from internally generated funds of the DOT,” the bill added.

Hataman is confident that with the national government’s help, Malamawi Island’s already deserved prestige can rival that of the country’s great beaches, such as Boracay and Siargao.

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