Friday, January 10, 2014

DOT Backs LGU Capacity-Building Initiatives

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The Department of Tourism (DOT) recently partnered with the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro in an effort to help the local government units (LGU) in crafting their individual tourism master plans.

In a simple ceremony held on 20 December 2013, the DOT-Region IV awarded to the Municipal Governments of Mansalay and Roxas, together with the Provincial Government of Oriental Mindoro, their remaining and last cash tranches amounting to an aggregate of over one million pesos.

DOT Region IV Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit personally handed over the check to the LGU representatives at the DOT-Calamba office in Laguna, which was witnessed by Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Rey V. Umali.

Touted as one of the country’s emerging eco-tourism destinations, Oriental Mindoro is an island province in the Southern Tagalog region, together with the provinces of Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, and Palawan -- collectively known as the MIMAROPA Region, about 140 kms. southwest of Manila. Envisioned as a “Green Paradise” by its local government, Oriental Mindoro is a tropical paradise with rich marine biodiversity and diverse marine ecosystem that can compete with that of Galapagos Islands. With its pristine natural beauty, the province has an array of natural bounties to boast of, from its powdery white sand beaches, crystal clear water, lush green forests, towering mountains, and impressive waterfalls. Mountain climbing, trekking, camping, caving, bird-watching, island hopping and exploration, adventure trips, windsurfing, scuba-diving, and snorkeling are only among the exciting recreational activities possible in the island province.

One of the challenges being addressed in the area is the lack of budget allocation in setting up their own local tourism offices. “The organization of a strong and competent tourism workforce is vital in making tourism successful. While not all local executives may fully believe in the power of tourism, it has proven its worth in many local destinations bringing in new opportunities and generating new jobs. The Province of Oriental Mindoro can count on the DOT as long as they need us and until they can already stand on their own,” said DOT Regional Director Labit who has more than 20 years of work experience as a local tourism officer in Palawan before joining the DOT in 2013. Representative Umali called on the support of the group to continue working closely with the stakeholders and the national government.

Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez, Jr., in a separate interview, said that tourism is only as strong as the local governments working behind it. “We have already created the demand with the Philippines now enjoying extensive international media mileage. But our job does not end there. The DOT is pushing for the development of new tourist destinations, geographic markets, segments, niches, and routes pursuant to the country’s National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP). And we will need the continued support of our local counterparts, our partners for success, in order to develop the tourism destinations, diversify tourism packages, and sustain demand. We can never go wrong with ecotourism, which has always been one of our strongest competitive advantages relative to other destinations in Asia,” Secretary Jimenez added.

DOT Backs LGU Capacity-Building Initiatives

Photo caption:

Awarding of financial assistance: (L-R) Joanne Mamaril of the Office of Rep. Umali; Orlando Tizon, Provincial Tourism, Investment & Enterprising Dev’t. Office (PTIEDO); DOT IV staff Basilisa Mendoza and Maritess Castro; Oriental Mindoro 2nd District Representative Rey V. Umali (in stripes); DOT Region IV Director Rebecca Villanueva-Labit; Francis Famero of LGU Roxas; DOT IV staff Glen Biñas and Aida Soriano; Councilor Johnell C. Siñel, Chairman of the Committee on Tourism Trade & Investment-LGU Roxas (in jacket); Eusebio Generoso of LGU-Mansalay. 

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