MARCH 8, 2013

NR # 3037B

Declaration of Iloilo City’s historic sites as cultural heritage tourism zone to attract more visitors
Aside from the annual “Dinagyang” event, foreign and local tourists will have another reason to flock to Iloilo City as the bill that seeks to declare some historic sites in the city as cultural heritage zones is getting close to becoming a law. The Jaro Cathedral, Molo Church, the Iloilo City Central Business District, Fort San Pedro, Jaro Plaza Complex and the Plaza Libertad Complex shall be declared as cultural heritage tourism zone once House Bill 5495 is signed into law by President Benigno Aquino III. The bill is in consonance with the policy of the State to promote a tourism industry that is ecologically sustainable, responsible, participative, culturally sensitive, economically viable and equitable for local communities. Under the bill, these heritage sites shall be accorded priority development by the Department of Tourism (DoT) and shall be subject to the rules and regulations governing the development of tourism zones. Rep. Jerry Treñas (Lone District, Iloilo City) said Iloilo City is replete with spectacular architecture and home to several tourist attractions, which should be classified as official tourist sites. “It is necessary to identify the country’s existing attractions which should be classified as tourist spots and allow the DoT to give particular emphasis to these identified sites in order to preserve these attractions so more tourists will visit these locations,” Treñas said. The Ilonggo solon, author of the bill, said the City of Iloilo is also home to buildings dating back to the Spanish and American colonial periods like the Iloilo City Central Business District, with structures that boast of a plethora of architectural designs which continues to exhibit the vibrancy of the city’s historic trade and commercial sector. The bill further states that the tourism development plan of the City of Iloilo shall be incorporated in the DoT’s overall national tourism development plan pursuant to Republic Act No. 9593 otherwise known as the National Tourism Act of 2009. This shall be jointly implemented with the local government and the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council as well as the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA). (30) mvip

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