Celso heads finalization of Sta. Cruz Island dev’t plan PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 01 July 2011 16:53

Mayor Celso Lobregat Tuesday convened a meeting of agencies concerned in the operation of the Big and Little Sta. Cruz Islands to finalize preparation of the management and development plan of the area.

This, after the city government and the Department of Tourism last week forged the memorandum of agreement for the takeover of the Island. The management and development plan of Sta. Cruz Island however should be submitted to the DOT before the formal turnover of the facility can take place.

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”.

Mayor Lobregat said the plan will be submitted to the DOT soon for approval and consequently implementation by the city government.
The chief executive considers the takeover of the Sta. Cruz Island as one of the major accomplishment of the city.

The limited facilities and capacities of the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprises Zone Authority (TIEZA) under the DOT to operate and maintain the islands and the desire of the city government to develop, manage, operate and maintain the facility is the main reason for the turn over and transfer of the functions from the national government to the local government.

Lobregat on June 17 led a delegation of city officials to Manila to forge the MOA with Tourism Secretary Albert Lim together with 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 mayor assured that the management and development plan of the Sta. Cruz Island will be in accordance with the government’s effort to preserve the ecological balance and the conservation and protection of the 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.
Among those present during the meeting Tuesday afternoon at City Hall were representatives from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Protected Area Management Bureau, DOT-Regional office, Coast Guard, police, military, City Environment and Natural Resources Office, City Planning and Development Office, City Tourism Office and other concerned agencies—both in government and private groups. — Sheila Covarrubias