DOT eyes farm, eco-tourism for in­clu­sive, sus­tain­able dev't

Sun.Star Baguio - - Top Stories -

THE DE­PART­MENT of Tourism (DOT) is set­ting its sights on the de­vel­op­ment of farm and eco-tourism sites in the re­gion to pro­vide in­come for small farm­ers and Indige­nous Peo­ples (IP).

“The tourism in­dus­try pro­vides great op­por­tu­ni­ties for di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of in­come for small-scale farm­ers and IP or­ga­ni­za­tions,” DOT Un­der­sec­re­tary Marco Bautista said in an in­ter­view with the me­dia on the side­lines of the 21st year cel­e­bra­tion of the Indige­nous Peo­ples’ Rights Act of 1997.

Bautista, a na­tive of Abra prov­ince, said farm and eco-tourism open up a new per­spec­tive of liveli­hood, es­pe­cially for IP groups, to­wards an in­clu­sive and sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

He lamented that de­spite its boun­ti­ful nat­u­ral re­sources and di­verse cul­tures, the Philip­pines still lags be­hind its neigh­bor­ing coun­tries in terms of farm and eco-tourism sites.

Bautista said the Cordillera re­gion is rich in nat­u­ral re­sources that can be used to the fullest.

“Farm and eco-tourism are very im­por­tant here in the re­gion, since Cordillera has a lot of nat­u­ral re­sources, es­pe­cially for the IP com­mu­nity, who are the ones who will

re­ally ben­e­fit from this,” he ex­plained. "This is why we en­vi­sion farm tourism as a com­mu­nity re­ju­ve­na­tion. This is what we are push­ing for, re­ally ben­e­fi­cial for the IP com­mu­nity."

Bautista said the con­ver­gence pro­gram among the DOT, De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture, and lo­cal gov­ern­ment units should be in­ten­si­fied so that IP com­mu­ni­ties and small farm­ers would help de­velop the agri­tourism pro­gram.

In the past years, he said, the DOT and the De­part­ment of Pub­lic Works and High­ways had been im­ple­ment­ing the tourism-road con­ver­gence project, con­struct­ing a tourism road net­work that leads to tourism sites in the var­i­ous lo­cal­i­ties, in­clud­ing barangays with tourist spots.

Ear­lier, Se­na­tor Cyn­thia Vil­lar en­cour­aged farm­ers in the re­gion to ven­ture into farm tourism, as this would ben­e­fit them hugely, such as in terms of higher in­come and free ed­u­ca­tion, and ul­ti­mately give the coun­try food se­cu­rity.

The DOT-Cordillera has ac­quainted high.

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