City Councilor Conrado Baluran appeals to his colleagues to lift the closure order on the resorts situated in Marilog District, particularly in Baganihan and Datu Salumay.
The city closed the resorts in the area citing the lack of business permits.
Most of the resorts are reportedly situated in either danger zone or conservation zone areas.
Baluran, in his privilege speech, alleged that the closure order has generated fear and economic deprivation of the residents who depend solely on the tourism industry.
Baluran cited the case of habal-habal drivers who earn a living by delivering tourists to the various destinations, especially on roads that are hardly passable by any four-wheeled vehicles.
“Worst, habal-habal drivers are forced to return their motorcycle because they cannot afford to pay the monthly amortization anymore since there are no passengers to ferry,” Baluran said.
Before the closure order, Baluran said not less than 5,000 tourists frequented Baganihan and Salumay resorts on weekends.
“But now, no more visitors are coming to these places,” said Baluran.
He said portions of the Bukidnon-Davao Road, in which Marilog District is located, belong either to Bukidnon or Cotabato.
With the closure order, tourists now flock to resorts outside the city’s jurisdiction.
“Presently, those resorts belonging to Cotabato and Bukidnon relatively gained from our loss,” Baluran said.
“(I) am from the third district where Marilog belongs. We cannot allow our people to continue to suffer,” Baluran further argued.
However, councilor Al Ryan Alejandre said the resort operators should be blamed for the predicament because they did not observe the law.
Alejandre, the chair of the the Committee on Tourism and Beautification, said the city directed the resort owners to convert their areas, considered as conservation zones, to tourism developmental zone. Yet, they refused.
Alejandre said mitigating measures, such as livelihood programs, should be implemented for residents affected by the closure.
He said that the closure order should stay for the protection of the tourists and even for the locals from calamities such as landslides.