By Freddie G. Lazaro
Laoag City, Ilocos Norte – Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos has asked all owners of beach hotel and cottages and other tourists’ destinations in the province to strictly follow environmental laws.
Marcos made the call following the reported cases of environmental sanitation violations in Boracay Island, Aklan Province, which has been recommended to be closed for at least six months for rehabilitation.
The governor asked the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to intiate the inspection of beaches in the province to strengthen on-going efforts to require all owners of local resorts and beachside sites to comply with the province’s environmental codes.
“Ayaw naman nating magaya sa Boracay naunti-unting nasira at ipinasara na (We don’t want to end up like Boracay which is slowly being destroyed and could even be closed),” Marcos said.
With yearly tourist arrivals of almost two million domestic and international day visitors since 2016, Marcos is anticipating anew huge tourist influx in the province this coming Holy Week and summer season.
Marcos expressed her concern on the impact on ecological tourist attractions despite the obvious economic gains for tourism stakeholders, in particular, the beach resorts in the northern town of Pagudpud, which is known for white-sand shores.
“Simula’t sa pul alam na nating magiging eco-tourism spot tayo, so we were always aware na we are a destination for mass tourism. We have a fragile environment; yung weight if we have busloads or truckloads of people, hindi natin kaya. Masisira yung sand dunes, masisira ang mga beach, yung mga limestone natin,” she said.