TIEZA formally turns over Sta. Cruz Isles to city gov’t PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 15 April 2012 15:00

The Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) has formally turned over and transferred to the city government of Zamboanga the development, management, maintenance and operation of the Great and Little Sta. Cruz Islands protected landscape and seascape.

In a letter to Mayor Celso Lobregat dated March 19, TIEZA Chief Operating Officer Mark Lapid said the turn over and transfer includes the existing facilities and other improvements.

As this developed, Mayor Lobregat in cooperation with the United Architect Association of the Philippines-Zamboanga chapter formally launched the Sta. Cruz Islands architectural design contest for the development of the protected landscape and seascape—one of the initial steps being undertaken to make the island premier tourist attraction in this part of the country.

The formal turnover and transfer of the Sta. Cruz island is pursuant to the memorandum of agreement forged last June 17, 2011 by Department of Tourism, then under the helm of Secretary Alberto Lim, TIEZA, city government, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-9) and the Protected Area and Ecotourism Management Board (PAEMB).

Lapid in his letter said the city government, in addition to the Development Plan previously submitted to the DOT and TIEZA, shall provide the TIEZA 10-year financial projections to assess the viability of the development plan.

The development of infrastructure projects in the islands shall comply with the guidelines stipulated in section 5 of DENR Administrative Order 2009-09, the TIEZA chief operating officer said. “Likewise repair and rehabilitation works of existing facilities shall be directed by the PAEMB jointly chaired by the City Government of Zamboang and DENR”.

Mayor Lobregat during the formal launch of the Sta. Cruz Island architectural design contest, emphasized that the development of the island will be low key with the fundamental goal of sustained protection and protection of the facility by innovating strategies that will invigorate the area.

He added that the facility’s “takeover, protection and preservation form part of our administration’s initiatives to promote Zamboanga City as a premiere tourist destination with the overriding goal of transforming the site into an “island-ecosystem which includes the landscape, seascape and marine resources that is responsibly and sustainably managed, developed and protected by the local government with the involvement of the community and other stakeholders for the maintenance and preservation of the natural biological, physical diversities of the environment and for ecotourism promotion.” — Sheila Covarrubias