PNoy signs law declaring the province of Kalinga as Tourism Dev't Area

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MANILA, June 10 -- President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed a law declaring the province of Kalinga in the Cordillera Region as a Tourism Development Area (TDA) in a bid to boost the country's tourism industry.

The Chief Executive signed on May 17 Republic Act No. 10561 otherwise known as the “An Act Declaring the Province of Kalinga in the Cordillera Region as a Tourism Development Area (TDA)”.

The Act was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on February 4 and February 5, 2013, respectively.

President Aquino said it is the policy of the State to promote a tourism industry that is ecologically sustainable, responsible, participative, culturally sensitive, economically viable and equitable for local communities.

Kalinga was declared as TDA because the province is "endowed with natural beauty, rivers, lake and mountain resources, and historical and cultural significance."

Foreign and local tourists will enjoy their visit to the municipality of Tinglayan, with its natural formation of mountain ranges and the natural beauty of Palan-ah Falls and Hot Springs.

The rainforest of Mt. Binaratan in the municipality of Tanudan is now considered a potential site for trekking.

The visitors may enjoy the sighting of the subterranean rivers and caves in the municipality of Balbalan, the Aguinaldo Hill and mountain lakes in the municipality of Pinukpuk.

The President also mentioned the potential site for white water rafting along the Chico River starting in Tinglayan down to Lubuagan, Pasil and Tabuk City, as well as its historical sites, same in Guina-ang Village in the municipality of Pasil, the Padharao Lake! the Elephant Hill and the man-made lagoon in the municipality of Rizal.

The province shall be accorded priority development by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and shall be subject to the rules and regulations governing tourism zones.

"The Tourism Development Plan of the Province of Kalinga shall be incorporated in the DOT’s overall National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) pursuant to Republic Act No. 9593, otherwise known as the “National Tourism Act of 2009″ and be jointly implemented with the local government and the Provincial Tourism Council of Kalinga taking into consideration Republic Act No. 7586, otherwise known as the “National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992″ and its implementing rules and regulations," the President said.

The DOT, in coordination with the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority and other concerned agencies of the government, shall delineate well defined geographic areas within the TDA and coordinate the integrated development of these areas for the optimum use of natural assets and attractions, as well as existing facilities.

The President directed the establishment of the Kalinga Tourism Development Trust Fund for purposes of financing projects that will enhance tourism in the province of Kalinga.

"The trust fund shall be administered by an administrator under the Provincial Tourism Council of Kalinga. Income shall be derived from fees from visitors/tourists, other resources from the province, proceeds from the registration and lease of multiple-use areas, including tourism concessions, fees, proceeds and contributions from industries and facilities directly benefiting the province," he said.

The Kalinga Tourism Development Trust Fund may be augmented by grants and donations, endowment from various sources, domestic or foreign entities and individuals, for purposes related to their functions.

"The Secretary of the DOT shall include in the Department’s program the implementation of this Act, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act and/or internally generated funds of the DOT," he said.

This Act shall take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation. (PCOO)

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