PAEMB OKs Sta. Cruz dev’t plan PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 15 August 2011 17:14

The newly created Protected Area Eco-Tourism Management Bureau (PAEMB) convened for the first time Friday to finalize and approve the proposed Sta. Cruz Islands management and development plan, the guidebook for the isles’ sustainable development.

Co-chaired by Mayor Celso Lobregat and Environment Regional executive director Arleigh Adorable, the PAEMB is a multi-sectoral body that will be responsible for the management and protection of the Big and Little Sta. Cruz Islands.

Following an extensive review of the proposed management and development plan, the board approved the over document composed of over a hundred pages. The plan will be submitted to the Department of Tourism (DOT) for approval.

The board, during its over 5 hours meeting at the City Hall conference room also  agreed to submit the proposed plan to the Regional Development Council and the City Council for information and appropriate action. A copy of the same document will be forwarded to the DENR director to forward to the DENR Secretary also for information and appropriate action.

The Sta. Cruz Islands Management and Development plan is key to the city government’s takeover of the management and development of the two islands following the formal signing of the memorandum of agreement between Mayor Lobregat and the Tourism Secretary Albert Lim and other agencies concerned in Manila last June 17.

The MOA paves the way for the city’s takeover of the islands from the former Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), formerly the Philippine Tourism Authority (PTA).

Mayor Lobregat said the city government envisions to transform the Big and Little Sta. Cruz Islands into an ‘island-ecosystem that is responsibly and sustainably managed’, developed and protected for the “maintenance and preservation of the natural biological, physical diversities of the environment and for ecotourism promotion”.

The development and protection of the Sta. Cruz island, according to Mayor Lobregat will be a joint effort of the city government, the PAEMB and the stakeholders of the island.

On the other hand, Mayor Lobregat foresees no obstacles in the city’s plans for the Sta. Cruz island even with the resignation of Tourism  Secretary Lim which is set to take effect end of this month. — Sheila Covarrubias