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Bohol as a National Tourism Zone
« on: June 17, 2007, 01:11:41 PM »
(press release)

The President recently ratified into law the House Bill declaring the Province of Bohol as a national tourism zone that may serve as token for Bohol 's consistent slot on top of the country's directory of tourists' destinations. The law entitles the province to avail of necessary technical and financial assistance for the development of tourism infrastructure and skills development to promote Bohol as tourism zone, both locally and internationally. The Act originated in the House of Representatives and was finally passed by both the House and the Senate in February, this year, based on the documents at the Malacañang Records Office headed by Director III Marianito Dimaandal. Concerned local offices in Bohol last week received communication from Dimaandal which gave notice of the President's approval of Republic Act 9446 or “An Act Declaring the Province of Bohol as An Eco-cultural Tourism Zone” dated May 9, 2007.

RA 9446 also states that the Department of Tourism (DOT) and its attached agencies, and the provincial government and the city government of Tagbilaran shall coordinate in formulating a tourism development plan for the tourism zone. This is for the meantime “until comprehensive legislation rationalizing the national tourism program is adopted”. The plan must be consistent with or can be integrated into DOT's national tourism master plan, according to the new law. The plan shall also “protect and enhance the natural features and cultural heritage of the tourism zone, while providing sustainable economic opportunities for the local community”.

The provincial government and the city government shall implement and enforce the tourism development plan, based on the powers vested on them by the Local Government Code. Under the law, the private sector, non-government organizations (NGOs), and other interest groups can interact with one another and the government through a forum that the DOT, the provincial government and the city government shall create. This is to create an atmosphere that shall encourage investment and the development of a culture of tourism. The provincial and city governments shall be consulted when DOT adopts rules and regulations and may enter into agreements to implement the new law. (AV-PGMA)

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