Guimaras 'Paradise Island' up for tourism development

JORDAN, Guimaras, Nov. 23 (PNA) -- A little-known but breathtakingly enchanting Marine Reserve in the province of Guimaras holds great promise of becoming a major tourism attraction and give the country's jewels like Boracay and Palawan a run for their money.
But unless the national government steps in and provide more incentives, the vast tourism potentials of Taclong Island Marine Reserve in Nueva Valencia town would remain regretfully untapped.
In a public dialogue initiated by the Guimaras provincial government, spearheaded by the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), PENRO Officer Jessie Vego, accentuated the exigency of placing Taclong Island under the more comprehensive National Integrated Protective Areas of Republic Act 7588 to pave the way for bigger funding and also provide more teeth or authority to existing protective guidelines and lead to the Island's full development.
According to Vego, Taclong Island, which lies 38 kilometers off Jordan Wharf, was initially put under the protection of the National Marine Reserve in 1990, but little has been done to exploit its commercial and tourism potentials since then.
“More state funds and stricter guidelines would enable us to determine its peripheries, meaning knowing what areas can be utilized for the government's interests, and what areas should be prohibited for use,” Vego said.
The development of Taclong Island, composed of about 1,000 pristine hectares, as tourist destination, threatens to displace long-time settlers from making a livelihood in the marine reserve.
Governor Felipe Hilan Nava has vowed to identify resettlement sites should development plans pushed through. (PNA)

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