Opening Statement: Hearing on the Proposed Batanes Responsible Tourism Act (H.B. No. 6152)

January 25, 2016

Opening Statement
Committee on Environment & Natural Resources
Hearing on the Proposed Batanes Responsible Tourism Act (H.B. No. 6152)
25 January 2016

Good morning and welcome to today’s public hearing of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources on House Bill No. 6152 concerning the declaration of the Province of Batanes as a responsible, community-based, cultural heritage and ecotourism zone.

The Province of Batanes is teeming with natural resources and boasts of unique flora and fauna. Its people, the Ivatans, continue to nurture their cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Batanes is a fine example of a harmonious co-existence between man and nature.

Both the government and the private sector recognize the value of the Province’s natural and man-made heritage and the potential to develop these resources towards sustainable growth, primarily through cultural and ecological tourism.

But we are aware of the negative impacts of unplanned tourism development and we do not want this pristine island group to be subjected to abuse and exploitation of tourists, whether intentional or otherwise. Batanes should be a model for responsible ecotourism and heritage conservation and that is the goal of this proposed measure.