Concern on eco-tourism sites

With yearly tourist arrivals of almost two million domestic and international day visitors since 2016, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte under Gov. Imee R. Marcos is expecting anew a tourist influx this coming Holy Week and summer season.

Governor Marcos expressed her concern for the impact on ecological tourist attractions despite the obvious economic gains for tourism stakeholders, in particular, the beach resorts in the northern town of Pagudpud known for its white-sand shores.

“Simula’t sapul alam na nating magiging eco-tourism spot tayo, so we were always aware na we are a destination for mass tourism. We have a fragile environment; yung weight if we have busloads or truckloads of people, hindi natin kaya. Masisira yung sand dunes, masisira ang mga beach, yung mga limestone natin,” she said.

“Kaya naman simula pa lang hindi lang slogan ang ‘clean and green’ pati na rin ang renewable energy sa Ilocos Norte, but rather a real policy. We want very much to offer quality and sustainable tourism to our visitors,” she added.

Noting the cases of environmental sanitation violations in Boracay Island, Aklan Province, Governor Marcos initiated an inspection by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to strengthen ongoing efforts to get local resorts and beachside sites to comply with the province’s environmental codes.

She shared, “Ayaw naman nating magaya sa Boracay na unti-unting nasira at ipinasara na.”

DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu together with the governor also cautioned the Municipal Government of Pagudpud regarding surplus of tourist arrivals in the next few months.

Governor Marcos thus reinforced her vow to ensure implementation of environmental sanitation and preservation laws, namely the Solid Waste Management Act and the Philippine Clean Water Act, both of which were strongly prescribed by Secretary Cimatu with Pagudpud officials.

She added that the same precautions would be taken for the Solsona-Apayao Road, a mountain trail bordering the town of Solsona and Apayao Province’s town of Calanasan.

The site had recently gone viral on social media, resulting to an increased number of visitors and later reports of littering and unsanitary practices of tourists in the area.

“Maraming nakadiscover [Solsona-Apayao] kasi parang Baguio. Dinadahan-dahan yung pagbukas non. Kung minsan nagagalit na sa amin yung mga tao kasi gusto nilang madaliin yung pagbubukas. Pero medyo istrikto kami, kasi kung hindi, talagang masisira yung ating eco-tourism site,” said Governor Marcos.