Onse Islas: Counting the Days PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 April 2018 11:49

The City Government of Zamboanga through the Tourism Promotions and Development Services Division of the Office of the City Mayor has commenced the development of the 11 islands in 2016 treating the same as a major milestone in our local tourism but at the same time a very crucial endeavor to undertake. Given the same, each phase of development is placed under careful scrutiny and planning to be able to achieve a tourism product that is not only equipped with facilities and standards but one that is READY to the influx of tourists and visitors.

The group of 11 islands is rich with coastal resources such as mangroves and associated species, sea grass beds, corals and reef fishes and more boasting of pristine waters and majestic rock formations. Recognizing the potential of the islands to be tourism destinations, a Technical Working Group (TWG) was formed and approved by the City Mayor composed of the officials and employees of the City Government and National Government Agencies. The TWG saw the need to preserve, conserve and recognize the cultural customs, traditions and practices of the Sama Bangingi in the 11 Islands and to develop programs to sustain their cultural customs, traditions and practices which is another potential tourism attraction.

Giving high consideration and utmost importance on the ecotourism and cultural aspects of the 11 islands, the City Government acknowledges that its development cannot be done overnight and has to involve a comprehensive planning coupled with the dynamic participation and support of all the identified stakeholders. Ecotourism is a form of sustainable tourism within a natural and cultural heritage area where community participation, protection, and management of natural resources, culture and indigenous knowledge and practices, environment education and ethics as well as economic benefits are fostered and pursued for the enrichment of host communities and satisfaction of visitors. Our goal is not only to DEVELOP but most importantly to SUSTAIN a tourism destination. This is what SUSTAINABLE TOURISM is all about. SUSTAINABLE TOURISM is about enriching, conserving and preserving for the present and future generations.

As of this date, the proposed ordinance identifying and operationalizing the group of 11 islands has passed the second reading. The approval of the ordinance shall be the legal basis for the opening for the said islands as an Eco-cultural Tourism Destination and with optimism and much anticipation, we are just counting the days. Let us therefore take you back to the turn of events prior to the passing of the proposed ordinance.

TIMELINE

2016

JULY 1- First Ocular Inspection was conducted with Councilor  Rommel Agan and other invited personalities

NOVEMBER 9 -A Second Ocular Inspection followed with the involvement of

Councilor BG Guingona

DECEMBER 7?- Ocular/ assessment of Island Trek in BIsaya Bisaya was set

DECEMBER 9 -First meeting of the TWG was conducted

DECEMBER 15  - The TWG convened for the second time

2017

JANUARY 26 - The first meeting with the local community of Sirommon Island was held with Councilor BG Guingona

FEBRUARY 7 - The first gathering with the community of Buh-Buh Island with personnel of the Zamboanga City Disaster Risk Reduction Office

FEBRUARY 9- Third meeting of the TWG

FEBRUARY 15- TWG meeting onsite with the Chief of the City Police, Police Director Magnaye that discussed about the Security Plan

FEBRUARY 17- Fourth TWG meeting

MARCH 6-10 - City Tourism Officer, Arch. Rodel Falcasantos  and Panubigan Chairwoman Jacky Magasa went on bench-marking visits to 100 Islands and Aloguinsan, Cebu (Community-Based Eco Tourism Destination)

May 14- TRITON Dive Team conducted the underwater assessment at the Bisaya Bisaya and Siromon Islands

MAY 17-Fifth TWG meeting

SEPTEMBER 7- City Survey Team led by Geo. Engr. Clemente of the Office of the City Engineer made a lot survey in the islands of Bisaya-Bisaya, and Baung-Baung, and Mainland of Panubigan for infrastructure development

OCTOBER 11 Officials of the National Association of Independent Travel Agencies made an ocular visit at the Bisaya-Bisaya Island

OCTOBER 21 - City Tourism Office assisted the Department of Labor and Employment in the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced (TUPAD) Workers Program in Barangay Panubigan

NOVEMBER 8- Assessment of the Piedra Vivo trek was held at the island of Baung-Baung

2018

JANUARY 10- Sixth TWG meeting

JANUARY 18 -Submission of the 11-Islands Development and Management Plan to the Office of the City Planning and Development for review and recommendation for approval

FEBRUARY 2 - A Lawyer and staff of the City Legal Office met with the barangay council of Panubigan, the indigenous community representatives, some locals and the City Tourism Office staff at the barangay hall of Panubigan

FEBRUARY 22 - First Public Hearing for the proposed ordinance and Development and Management Plan involving all stakeholders

MARCH 22 -Second Public Hearing was conducted to discuss about the second draft of the proposed ordinance

APRIL 3 -the deliberation and approval of the minutes of the public hearing and passage for its second approval

The anticipated approval of the proposed ordinance shall follow after the ocular visit of the members of the City Council on April 14, 2018. The proposed ordinance principally authored by Councilor BG Guingona, SP Chairman on Tourism, was made possible through a collaboration of ideas, theories and legalities, from all the involved stakeholders. Yes, it may have taken two years or more to put the pieces together, but what we envision is a tourism destination that is not only right, but one that starts right and most importantly one that is readily prepared for tourism.

To end, let us always be reminded on this:

Tourism development is not just about doing right. It is preparing the place to be ready with a sound regulation that will protect the environment of the island and establish a seamless protocol that will benefit the community as a whole. #WeSupportResponsible AndSustainableTourism

“TOURISM PLANNING IS NOT ABOUT BEING RIGHT, IT IS ABOUT BEING READY.”