MANILA—The House Committee on Tourism has approved a bill seeking to protect tourist destinations and prevent environmental woes.
This after Boracay island was ordered shut down to tourists for 6 months to make way for rehabilitation efforts amid sewerage problems and widespread violation of environmental laws among business owners.
The government-led cleanup began after President Rodrigo Duterte called the renowned beach destination a "cesspool."
In a statement, the committee said House Bill 7229 or “Philippine Sustainable Tourism Act” seeks to create a Philippine Sustainable Tourism Council that will include qualified representatives of stakeholders in the tourism industry.
The House Tourism Committee will be the convener and administrator of the council.
The measure provides the stakeholders for representation shall include, but not limited to:
- House Tourism Committee
- Senate Tourism Committee
- Department of Tourism
- Department of Environment and Natural Resources
- Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority
- Department of Public Works and Highways
- Department of Health; Department of Trade and Industry
- National Economic and Development Authority
- Department of Interior and Local Government
- Department of National Defense
- Department of Finance
- Department of Budget and Management
- Local government units
Under the measure, the council is tasked "to establish a unified definition of 'Sustainable Tourism'; establish goals to achieve and maintain 'Sustainable Tourism'; and integrate all existing laws pertaining to the Tourism Industry in various areas that influence the sustainability of the industry."