Protection eyed for Surigao tourist spots
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - August 21, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - A lawmaker is seeking the inclusion of two of the country’s ecotourism havens – the Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls in his home province of Surigao del Sur – in the list of protected areas to help preserve their unique features.

Rep. Johnny Pimentel has filed House Bills 1903 and 2116 for the purpose, saying the two wonders of nature must be shielded from potentially
 destructive human exploitation.

“No effort must be spared to conserve the magical river and the majestic falls, both of which are now clearly in danger of degradation on account of unchecked human activities, spurred mainly by the growing number of local and foreign visitors,” Pimentel, a member of the House committee on natural resources, said.

“We want the proposed Enchanted River and Tinuy-an Falls natural parks to become the focus of highly aggressive conservation efforts, so that future generations of Filipinos may delight in their marvels,” Pimentel said.

The Enchanted River is a scenic, deep spring tributary situated in Barangays Talisay and Cambatong in the municipality of

Hinatuan.

The river got its name from the late Modesto Farolan, the country’s first tourism commissioner (the equivalent of secretary today), who was captivated by the waterway’s natural beauty and splendor, inspiring him to write a romantic poem, “Rio Encantado.”

The extraordinarily clear blue, 270-meter river flows into the Philippine Sea and the Pacific Ocean through Hinatuan Bay.

Meanwhile, the Tinuy-an Falls, considered the broadest falls in the Philippines, has a highly-diverse ecosystem that includes 235 varieties of plant and animal life, many of which have been marked “vulnerable” or “endangered.”              

Under the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS) Act of 1992, portions of land and water may be reserved as “protected areas” by law or by presidential proclamation, to safeguard and enrich their exceptional qualities.

The Biodiversity Management Bureau, formerly Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau, oversees all protected areas, mostly with the help of local governments, or the state-run corporation that owns or controls the area.

Thus far, the bureau’s list of 240 protected areas covers 35,700 square kilometers, or around 12 percent of the country’s total land area.

 

 

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