City prepares Sta. Cruz management, dev’t plan PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 20 June 2011 17:08

After the formal signing of the memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the takeover of the Big and Little Sta. Cruz islands, the city government is now in the process of completing the management and development plans of the area.

The plans are expected to be submitted to the Department of Tourism (DOT) within a month’s time, according to Mayor Celso Lobregat.
Lobregat last Friday forged the pact in Manila last Friday with Tourism Secretary Albert Lim together with Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprises Zone Authority (TIEZA) general manager Mark Lapid and officials from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). Congresspersons Beng Climaco and Erbie Fabian signed as witnesses to the pact in the presence of TIEZA deputy managers, Councilors Nonong Guingona, Rudy Lim, Rey Candido, Percival Ramos, VP Elago and Rogelio Valesco Jr.; Tourism Regional Director Mary June Bugante; City Supervising Tourism Operation Officer Sarita Hernandez and City Legal Office representative Atty. Edward Fronda.

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.

Mayor Lobregat said formal turnover of the islands will take place after the city government submits the management and development plan for approval of the DOT.
He stressed that in taking over the islands’ operation, the city aims not only to promote eco-tourism but also ensures the preservation of ecological balance as well as the conservation and protection of the natural flora and fauna.

“And since the two islands are protected seascape and landscape, the development will not be done in such a way that the island’s resources will be exploited”, the mayor said stressing that preservation of the island will be foremost in promoting eco-tourism.

He said steps will be undertaken to make the island accessible to residents, visitors and tourists by increasing frequency of watercrafts plying the area.
The mayor also hinted that the facilities or structures that will be constructed in the area will have low impact but quality infrastructures. 
The signing of the MOA is backed by Council resolutions 35 and 489. — Sheila Covarrubias