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UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES SCHOOL OF URBAN AND REGIONAL PLANNING

Activity No.1 Donsol, Sorsogon: Local Government Unit Assessment and Proposed Interventions Based on Five (5) Local Economic Development Criteria

Submitted to: Mark Mateo Morales, Ar./EnP. Professor

Submitted by: Vinson P. Serrano Plan 210

December 2011

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Table of Contents

Title Page LGU Profile: Donsol, Sorsogon Five (5) Local Economic Development Criteria 1. Food security/ self- sufficiency a. Donsol on Food Security and Self-Sufficiency b. Proposed Interventions i. Establishment of Agricultural Centers on Strategic Locations ii. Establishment of Tourism Visitor Centers aside from the Whale Shark Activity Retaining Existing Business and Industry 2. Retaining Existing Business and Industry a. Donsol on Retaining Existing Business and Industry b. Proposed Interventions i. Establishment of Proper Expansion of Market Sites

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ii. Establishment of Fish Ports with Proper Waste Management Facilities 3. Attracting new business a. Current Scenario b. Proposed Interventions i. Establishment of Agriculture-Related Industry Sites for Post-Processing ii. Establishment of Communal Facilities such as Sewage Treatment Plant, Better Waste Disposal Facility, and Protection Services Facilities 10

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4. Nurturing small and start-up businesses a. Current Scenario b. Proposed Interventions i. Establishment of Souvenir Centers/Markets

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ii. Establishment of Small-Medium Density Accommodation Facility Sites with Regulation of the High-Density Accommodation Facility Areas 5. Develop and finance facilities that help capture business locators or re-circulate local funds 13 a. Current Scenario b. Proposed Interventions i. Establishment of Technical and Vocational Schools and Skill Training Facilities ii. Establishment of Tourism Visitor Centers aside from the Whale Shark Activity

Endnotes and Bibliography

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Local Government Unit Profile: Donsol, Sorsogon Donsol is a coastal town with a total land area of 152.99 sq. km. and is located at the northwestern part of the province of Sorsogon, which occupies the southern

terminus of the Bicol Peninsula. Of the total land area, about 25.64 sq. km. comprises the built-up urban area and 15.68 sq. km. is devoted to agricultural purposes, and about 13.86 sq. km. is reserved for recreational and tourism purposes. Some 5.33 sq. km. of
Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Ph_locator _sorsogon_donsol.png

undifferentiated lands including waterways of are not fully developed. It is bounded on the north by the municipality of Jovellar, Albay, on the northwest, by the municipality of Pio Duran, Albay, on the south by the Burias Pass and on the east part by the municipality of Pilar, Sorsogon. It is geographically located about 12° 54' 26.896" north latitude and 123° 36' 28.867" east longitude. It is 66 kilometers away from the City of Sorsogon and 51 kilometers away from the City of Legazpi in the province of Albay. A provincial road connects Donsol to the municipality of Pilar while provision for road network connecting Donsol to the two adjacent municipalities of Jovellar and Pioduran has been considered and included in the development plan of the municipality. Through the years, the Municipality of Donsol basically remained as an Agricultural Town. With the improvement however, of the vital transportation and other infrastructure facilities, the municipality is gradually progressing socially and economically. Much to its advantage is the now worldwide recognition of the municipality as one of the best place for animal encounter. Tourism economy now significantly contributes to the development of the municipality. This is manifested by the regular infux of both domestic and foreign tourists all eager to see and interact with the visiting whale sharks locally known as Butanding along the coastal waters of the municipality particularly during Butanding Season.

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The settlement role of the municipality of Donsol under the Sorsogon Provincial Physical Frameworks Plan, Year 1993- 2002 is that of a small town. Its principal role therefore is as a Small Agri-Processing.i Sitting on the northwestern part of Sorsogon Province, Donsol marks the provincial boundary on the northwest, adjoining the province of Albay. The town has 51 barangays, 11 of which are situated in the coastal areas of the municipality. With a population of 39,995, population growth is relatively high, at an annual rate of 3.23%, higher than the national average of 2.36%.

Photo 1. A photo of the famous Ogod River where Firefly Watching activity occurs every night. Photo taken May 2009 by Vinson Serrano

Fishing is the primary source of food and income. Noel Castro, a former coastal barangay captain reports that, prior to the tourism boom, there had been few development projects in his community; until recently and the common sources of drinking water were water pumps and open wells.ii

Photo 2. A panoramic view of the Donsol coastline showing the Catundulan Point, a tourist spot in the municipality. Photo taken May 2009 byVinson Serrano

Photo 3. A panoramic view of the Donsol coastline showing all the coastal barangays of the municipality. Photo taken May 2009 byVinson Serrano

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Whale Shark Tourism Activity: Propeller of Main Economic Activity In January 1998, the sudden discovery of whale sharks or Butanding (Rhincodon Typus) along the shores of Donsol, Sorsogon in the Bicol region have turned a once-quiet town from an ill-equipped community into a potential ecotourism destination in the country. Such discovery brought an influx of tourists and unprecedented effects of the growing community development giving rise to several community development problems. Moreover, the concept of ecotourism is to be further established in the operations of the municipal planning development as it aims to become an effective tool for conservation towards sustainable development.iii

Donsol, Sorsogon Assessment and Proposed Interventions Based on the Five (5) Local Economic Development Criteria Donsol, Sorsogon hailed as the Whale Shark Capital of the World for having the biggest number of whale shark congregation on a single time of sighting has tremendously contributed to the socio-economic prosperity of the municipality and to the entire region as well. Such incidence raised the economic activities consequently benefiting the vast majority of villagers on creating small to medium enterprises and adding an alternative source of livelihood to the community. Listed below are the five local economic development criteria current scenario and how the proponent intends to seek further development or give augmenting aid according to the given criteria: 1. Food security/ Self- Sufficiency a. Donsol on Food Security and Self-Sufficiency Donsol, Sorsogon, being known as a small agricultural town transformed into an ecotourism destination has turned its unsustainable practice of heavily relying on agricultural and fishery activities. For this reason, high incidence of overfishing thus disrupting the natural ecosystem of Donsol remained to be the major problem until such time that whale shark watching activities was set into place. Farming and Fishery as its main economic activitiesiv (DILG Report in

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2009), brought by its rich geographical features are the prime contributors of financial income to the municipality. However, on the precedent activities of tourism, this has turned the entire town to the tourism sector whereas all of its natural features will be maximized. By the year 1998, the sudden influx of tourist gave plenty of opportunities to the Donsolenos, from the business to tourism sector, giving benefits to every household in the municipality. b. Proposed Interventions Focusing on the strengths of Donsol in agricultural and fishery sector as its main economic activity, the main intention of the program is to secure equal distribution of economic activities within the agricultural barangays that are not directly benefiting from the tourism activities related to whale sharks. Furthermore, it aims to maximize the potential and rich natural resources of Donsol to support all communities to boost agricultural trade and heighten the economic benefits of farming and other agriculture-related industries. i. Establishment of Agricultural Centers on Strategic Locations Since Donsol has a vast agricultural land, to be able to maximize its natural resources on food production, locating agricultural centers within the municipality may support the year-round agricultural activities of Donsol. Agricultural centers will have adequate storage facilities in response to the frequent rainy climatic condition of the municipality and will be located on strategic geographic locations. The facility will provide a one-stop shop for baranggays and other neighboring villages to purchase and trade agricultural products with a good infrastructure linkage from the national road since the road networks in Donsol has not yet been well established. This facility will give primary convenience to farmers, consumers, and other trade agents to conduct agriculture-related businesses in Donsol to maintain its main

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economic activity without the loss of sustainability practices such as crop rotation and maximization of crop according to its suitable land use. ii. Establishment of Designated Fishing Area and Regulation of Fishing Practices Since overfishingv is a predominant incident in the waters of Donsol, it is recommended that facilities and regulations shall be implemented to control the fishing activities in the area. Likewise, a proper regulatory action should be done to be able to secure that proper fishing practices geared towards sustainability shall operate so as to secure food security in terms of marine food resources. 1. Retaining Existing Business and Industry a. Donsol on Retaining Existing Business and Industry Agricultural and Fishery sector propels the economic activity of Donsol, though Tourism sector seemed to contribute bigger in terms of financial income for the municipality. However, the existence of agricultural and fishery activities in Donsol remained its identity and the traditional way of living of most of the villagers. Proposed interventions seek to support the existing businesses and industries in the municipality, and to encourage innovations to widen the scope of beneficiaries of these activities to the entire municipality.

b. Proposed Interventions The program aims to strengthen the existing facilities with regards to existing business and industry that Donsol has to offer to its villagers. In line with this, providing the facilities with a better amenities and additional services to strengthen its use for the community will make it more useful and more conducive for its particular use. The more people realize that an upgrade for a

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certain facility is being developed thru time, the more the people realize its value and eventually will take good stewardship on it over time. i. Establishment of Proper Expansion of Market Sites The existing market site in the Poblacion area seems to be inadequate to support the local agriculture and fishing industry in the municipality. Other existing local industry needs to be redeveloped on the same site since the urban congregation in the area has already been established. Given with a proper expansion of the market site, to support the higher density of people living within the area this will not only support the locally established market site, but will also add variety of flavour to the locality due to the addition of other local industries that existed resulting from the tourism industry. Such establishment of proper expansion will not only result to a better redevelopment of the existing facility, but will also eliminate the street vendors lining up within the coast lines that poses a threat to the very sensitive ecology of Donsol. ii. Establishment of Fish Ports with Proper Waste Management Facilities The existing fish port located in the Poblacion area needs proper sanitation and waste disposal management. Such alarming incident poses a great threat to the pollution of the natural habitat of the whale sharks. If not controlled, such condition could affect not only the whale shark tourism industry but the fishery industry as a whole. To mitigate the negative effects of this incident, an establishment of fish ports with proper waste management facilities may address this issue of sanitation. With this establishment, boats can dock safely without the risk of sludge-off waste in the clean waters of Donsol. This will not only secure that Donsol will retain its healthy trade activities in fisheries but will also aid to address the issue of environmental sensitivity and stewardship.

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2. Attracting New Business a. Donsol on Attracting New Business Attracting new businesses in Donsol related and supporting to the main tourism activity is very essential in the development of the socio-economic prosperity of the municipality. Due to the growing number of demand of supporting industries and sector such as the accommodation sector, commercial and trade sector, as well as the need to explore new business venture related to it is vital for the maximization of its resources and socio-economic activities. Likewise, it is imperative that the existing condition in Donsol is very healthy for attracting new businesses and necessary to provide facilities and interventions to translate these into beneficial economic activities for the people. b. Proposed Interventions The program aims to strengthen the capacity of Donsol more than being a Tourism Destination in the Bicol Region. In addition to the numerous citations received by the municipality on the whale shark watching activities, there is a need for a wider spectrum of sites and services that the municipality can offer to the budding businesses for it to flourish. Establishment of good sites and services will not only attract new businesses, but will also add leverage to the entire community in terms of business operation. i. Establishment of Agriculture-Related Industry Sites for PostProcessing Donsol as an agricultural town is known to produce agricultural products from Coconut and Abaca. Establishing an agriculture-related industry sites for post-processing of these products may result to a development of other industries linked with agricultural products such as souvenir and handicraft production, furniture making. These facilities when established, may invite investors and businessmen to put venture

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into this kind of industries. This is also an alternative to maximize the production of available resources from the agricultural produce aside from food. Such business will not only benefit big industries but will also support small communities and households with varying degrees of human capital. ii. Establishment of Communal Facilities such as Sewage Treatment Plant, Better Waste Disposal Facility, and Protection Services Facilities As Donsol maintain its natural and sensitive ecology,

establishment of communal facilities such as sewage treatment plant for the municipality, waste disposal facilities, and protection services will not only secure good environment quality in the municipality, but will also invite businessmen due to good communal facilities that are necessary to most of the industries nowadays. Securing good protective services such as police stations and fire protection facilities will give a competitive advantage to the other neighbouring towns due to these critical facilities provided for them. This will not only ensure the safety of the people, but will also secure environmental benefits for the succeeding generations of Donsol. 3. Nurturing Small and Start-Up Businesses a. Donsol on Nurturing Small and Start-Up Businesses In line with attracting new businesses, the support foundation of nurturing small and start-up business in Donsol has seemed to prosper over the years. Since the year 1998 when the tourism industry began in Donsol, several small and startup businesses seemed to flourishvi. Souvenir and delicacy producers have grown in numbers, while small family dwellings with rooms converted into bed and breakfast facilities have generated income for several communities in the municipality. Indeed, the tourism activity has led to the promotion of small and

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start-up business to expand into varying scale and provide alternative source of livelihood for the villagers of Donsol. Linear development with sporadic commercial establishments along the road networks has been very evident in the transformation of the municipality from a once sleepy-quiet town. b. Proposed Interventions The program aims to support and strengthen the capacity of small to medium industry key players in establishing a competitive business sector in the municipality. With proper tax incentives and monitoring (based on DILG Financial
Performance e-Report 2009) , encouragements for these nurturing and starting-up
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businesses will not only ignite small economic activities, but it is in the higher note to emphasize the domino effect brought by these small businesses in creating multiple businesses supporting it in varying levels in the society. i. Establishment of Souvenir Centers/Markets Since the flourishing industries of souvenir and delicacy production in the municipality have supported small to medium families up to the big business key players, establishment of souvenir centers and markets provided with good support service and marketing from the government sector will not only entice the business activities, but will also generate an additional set of economic activities that will support the souvenir centers. This facility will not only secure good tax generation and monitoring but also maintains a fair and healthy competition among industry key players. Such establishment will also promote local industries to help Donsol in labelling the Filipino products into international and local tourists. ii. Establishment of Small-Medium Density Accommodation Facility Sites with Regulation of the High-Density Accommodation Facility Areas

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Since the tourism development started, several small family dwellings were converted into bed and breakfast facilities to cater backpackers in their short travel and stay in Donsol. However, these small to medium density accommodation facilities need to be regulated to secure safety and quality standards of tourism experience for all the tourists. Such issue can be addressed by the establishment of accommodation facility sites provided with supporting services for the tourists. This will ensure the proper sanitation of the community and safety of tourists. On this establishment, safety and security services and facilities will be provided, as well as support services such as health, tourist assistance, and protective service facilities. This will lessen the threat of any untoward incident within the tourism vicinity and will also establish the carrying capacity of tourism influx near the coastal barangays of Donsol. 4. Develop and Finance Facilities That Help Capture Business Locators or ReCirculate Local Funds a. Donsol on Develop and Finance Facilities that Help Capture Business Locators or Re-circulate Local Funds On a gradual scale, the development of communal facilities and improvement of physical development such as infrastructure networks have been evident in the urban fabric of Donsol. Site facilities such as improvement in street lighting, addition of security posts, tourist assistance posts, improvement of power and water infrastructure, and others are signs of development in the municipality.viii The establishment of the Tourism Center in Barangay Dancalan, shown a big progress since the year 1998, while a better municipal hall has improved its facilities and have created a good image in the community. b. Proposed Interventions Through projects that will showcase the level of progress of the community as a whole, Donsol will eventually realize the positive effects brought by the

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economic activities set by the tourism industry. Moving forward by continuing the best practices done over the years, Donsol will be able to maintain its stature as the Whale Shark Tourism Destination in the World and Best Animal Encounter in Asia cited by the Time Magazine. However, the need for a better capacity building for the future generations of Donsol and to explore all other tourism potentials in the entire municipality could bring bigger and better socio-economic effects not only to Donsol but to the entire region at large. These programs are resultant of what tourism has brought to Donsol not just financially but as a developed community to maximize its revenue generation.ix i. Establishment of Technical and Vocational Schools and Skill Training Facilities Donsol prides itself with a good human capital with good literacy ratex way above the national average, and to maximize this resource is to invest on the establishment of technical and vocational schools and skill training facilities in the municipality. Capacity building and equipping the community with skills and training that can be passed on to future generations and thru education infiltration that can secure the continuing growth of Donsol and its growing tourism industry. ii. Establishment of Tourism Visitor Centers aside from the Whale Shark Activity Donsol prides itself with plenty of tourism spotsxi, both natural and built, that generates a year-round income to the municipality. As the main attraction focuses on the whale shark watching activities, other tourism spots such as the Catundulan Peninsula, Tuba Falls, Tankulan Mangrove Ecopark, Ogod River, the Astilleros Site, Grotto, among others needs to be developed into a well-established tourism destination. Development of other tourism sites could bring equal distribution of tourists in various parts of the municipality, without bringing the negative implications of heavy tourist migration at particular locations. On a very sensitive ecology

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of Donsol, the establishment of carrying capacity and proper monitoring and maintenance of each and every tourism centers is critical. Such establishment of tourism visitor centers will not only provide location for small to medium scale businesses but will also secure the tourism activities meet its prescribed carrying capacity in line with sustainable tourism practices.

Endnotes and Bibliography

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Donsol Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Local Government Unit- Donsol,Sorsogon. 07/17/2009.

Community-Based Ecotourism and Coastal Resources Management Project in Donsol, Sorsogon. http://www.wwf.org.ph/about.php?pg=wwd&sub1=00011. 07/17/2009. Serrano, Vinson P. Aquatika: Whale Shark Exploration Center. University of Santo Tomas Undergraduate Thesis. Espana,Manila. 03/2010. Department of Local and Interior Government LGU-Donsol Profile 2009. http://dilgbicol.org/attachments/LGU_Profile_sorsogon_Donsol.pdf. 12/11/2011. R.Pine. Donsol:Whale Shark Tourism and Coastal Resource Management. WWF-Philippines. Quezon City. 2007. Department of Local and Interior Government Financial Performance e-Report, Municipality of Donsol, Sorsogon, PY 2009. http://dilgbicol.org/attachments/LGPMS_Sorsogon_Donsol_FinancialReport.pdf. 12/11/2011.
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Department of Local and Interior Government State of Local Governance Performance, Electronic Report, Municipality of Donsol, Sorsogon, PY 2009. http://dilgbicol.org/attachments/LGPMS_Sorsogon_Donsol_SLGPR.pdf. 12/11/2011.

Department of Local and Interior Government State of Local Development, Electronic Report, Municipality of Donsol, Sorsogon, PY 2009. http://dilgbicol.org/attachments/LGPMS_Sorsogon_Donsol_SLDR.pdf. 12/11/2011.

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