A year after the local government imposed its iron hand, highland resorts in the districts of Marilog and Paquibato will see a complete reversal.The City Council’s Committee on Tourism is now pushing to promote the once embattled resorts as primary tourism destinations in the city.
This as the councilors passed on second reading the proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance of Davao City to delineate areas for eco-tourism and agro-tourism activities in the third congressional district.
Last year, the local government closed down more than 20 tourism spots in the districts, primarily for operating without business permits.
“Now, we are helping them as a win-win solution between the local government and the private sector to work hand in hand,” said City Councilor Al Ryan Alejandre who chairs the Council’s committee on tourism.
Before, Alejandre said they could not promote, or even tolerate, the tourism establishments mushrooming in the third district because the operation in those areas was illegal.
But if the amendment will be passed into law, he said “we will include” the third district resorts on the Davao’s tourism campaigns. “(Even) in our campaign slogan.”
He said the areas in Marilog and Paquibato will be placed under the Tourism Development Zone as an additional land use for tourism.
“As new tourism attractions in Davao, we really have to promote (them),” Alejandre told reporters.
He said the city’s tourism is focused on MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) and the highland resorts are considered as secondary destinations.
Alejandre sees a possible influx of tourists in the city especially in the hinterland the resorts.
“This could help to continue generating jobs among the residents of Marilog and Paquibato,” he added.
Alejandre initially questioned the legality of resorts in the hinterland districts last year, fearing that the structures could be located in danger zones.
“The (resort)… operating without business permit… in a conservation zone was part of my privilege speech before,” Alejandre said.
Alejandre prompted the creation of the inter-agency Task Force (TF) Marilog, which probed the illegal operation of resorts in the third district.
He said the TF Marilog will still continue its operation as part of the monitoring of the implementation of the laws in the said areas.
Alejandre said the local government supports the development of tourism activities in the hinterlands but they have also to follow the law of the city.
“We welcome development but we do not want to exploit our mountains,” Alejandre said.
The councilor likened Marilog to Baguio City, the country’s prime summer destination.