Celso, DOT sign pact on Sta. Cruz takeover PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 18 June 2011 18:07

The city government and the Department of Tourism yesterday forged a memorandum of agreement paving the way for the turnover to the local government of Zamboanga the development and turnover of the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands protected landscape and seascape as eco-tourism destination and protected areas.
Mayor Celso Lobregat and Tourism Secretary Albert Lim led in the signing of the memorandum of agreement at the DOT office in Ermita Manila at 11 am yesterday. Other signatories were Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) chief operating officer Mark Lapid and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources-9 Regional Executive Director Arleigh Adorable.

Present during the signing ceremonies were Congresspersons Beng Climaco and Erbie Fabian, Councilors Nonong Guingona, Rudy Lim, Percival Ramos, VP Elago and Rogelio Valesco Jr.; Tourism Regional Director Mary June Bugante; City Supervising Tourism Operation Officer Sarita Hernandez and TIEZA (former Philippine Tourism Authority) deputy general managers.

Some members of the City Council and city officials representing departments concerned in the operation of the island were also present during the signing ceremonies.
The MOA specifically aims “to develop, operate, manage, maintain, protect and preserve the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands Protected Landscape and Seascape in Zamboanga City as eco-tourism destination and protected areas”.

“In view of the limited capabilities and capacities of the TIEZA to operate and maintain the islands and the desire of the city to develop, manage, operate and maintain the multiple use zones, there is a need to turn over tand transfer such functions from the TIEZA to the city,” the MOA states.

The turnover is likewise in line with the devolution of functions from the national government to the local government units mandated by the Constitution and the Local Government code of 1991.

Lobregat has emphasized that the city government is ready to take over the development and operation of the Sta. cruz island, as it has sufficient funds to do so. — Sheila Covarrubias