Environment, ecotourism up in vice mayors confab

BUTUAN CITY (MindaNews/14 June) — Environmental protection and ecotourism will take center stage during the 3rd Mindanao Island Congress of the Vice Mayors League of the Philippines (VMLP) next week.

Preparations are now in the full swing for the event slated on June 20-22 where some 500 guests from all over the country are expected to attend.

The organizers said they are hoping the participants would study existing ordinances in their localities that aim to protect the environment and promote ecotourism.

Butuan City Vice Mayor Lawrence Fortun, VMLP Caraga chair, assured the participants will have a unique experience during their visit.

“Since our theme this year is protecting the natural environment, preserving nature’s wonders and promoting ecotourism, on the second day there will be a unique break-up session, wherein the vice mayors will actually visit the different ecotourism destinations here in Caraga region and appreciate what nature has to offer,” he said.

Carmen town in Agusan del Norte is one of the areas in Caraga Region that boasts of its ecotourism destinations.

“We are proud that we would be able to showcase our town and present it to the delegates of the Mindanao Congress. We would like to show them several ecotourism destinations our small town has to offer, and even with our small 20% development fund we have been able to build from it in a short span of time,” said Carmen vice mayor Wilfredo T. Taglucop.

Taglucop pointed out small towns in other provinces can live without the destruction brought by mining and logging operations.

He said they can share to the Congress participants how to earn from environmental preservation through ecotourism.

Fortun meanwhile said that vice mayors from Mindanao are also coming to attend session on the modules to be handled by the Academy of Presiding Officers.

“During the congress, there will be two modules and Sangguniang Panlalawigan management. This is an eight-module course conducted by the UP College of Public Administration and Governance and the Academy of Presiding Officers.  The first two modules were done in Legazpi City last April this year, and the next two will be given here in Butuan City,” said Fortun.  (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)